FARMINGTON — For years, Keith Melancon said, he has watched drivers stop outside his home and take pictures on their cellphones of his property.

He said he knows that means another person is making a complaint about his Town Farm Road property to the Board of Selectmen.

Melancon is a mechanic and does odd maintenance jobs, and his small yard is filled with vehicles he intends to sell, fix or harvest for parts along with piles of scrap metal, snowblowers, tractors and cars he tinkers with as a hobby.

Some residents say the cars and parts are an eyesore and violate the town’s junkyard ordinance, which prohibits residents from having piles of scrap in their yard. Melancon maintains the items are not junk, but part of his business.

The board has been meeting with Melancon since 2009 to address to ongoing problem. Chairman Ryan Morgan initiated a meeting with Melancon this month after he saw the amount debris and cars had increased again. The board recommended he screen in the vehicles and equipment and move as much as he can to the back of the yard.

Melancon also said he plans to fix and sell a few of the cars that are most visible from the road.

Code enforcement officer Steve Kaiser said he plans to visit Melancon’s property to see whether Melancon has made progress since their last meeting June 11.

Kaiser said Melancon has made efforts to clean up the property since he last met with the board and has removed more than 1,200 pounds of scrap metal from the yard.

Farmington is like a many places in Maine, Kaiser said, where residents with different values and incomes live together on the same street and have different ideas of what counts as upkeep and what counts as junk.

“Go into any Maine town and you’ll have no problem finding that dichotomy,” he said.

In Melancon’s case, Kaiser said, while some residents view the equipment and scrap as junk and an eyesore that damages their property values, most of the items are working equipment he uses at his job or as a hobby.

Melancon signed a consent agreement with the town four years ago, promising to clean up the property. Kaiser said the town has taken violators of its junkyard ordinance to court before, but he said he thinks Melancon is trying to work with the town and improve his property.

Town officials met with Melancon two other times, the more recent one in May 2010, during which former selectman Jon Bubier said he was “disenchanted” with Melancon’s efforts to clean up his property.

According to town protocol, selectmen hold a public hearing, set a formal deadline, and require that a consent agreement be signed. Finally, the owner can be taken to court, where a judge can authorize the town to clean up the property and recoup the cost through a property lien or special tax.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]

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