Roxbury to vote again on proposed ‘junk ‘ ordinance

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 4:56 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The town of Roxbury has been fighting over a junk ordinance since the ‘90s. Now, residents will weigh in again at the polls on Wednesday after a similar vote on Town Meeting Day ended in confusion.

Amedeo David Santi has been living in Roxbury since the ‘70s in the middle of town and the state of his property has been a matter of controversy. “It’s a matter of freedom,” Santi said.

Freedom that local residents will weigh in on at the polls Wednesday in the form of a junk ordinance that would regulate the disposal of solid waste, outdoor storage of junk, vehicles, and salvage yards in order to protect the public’s well-being.

A number of residents in town have a substantial amount of what many call “junk” in their front yards, but Santi doesn’t see it that way. “I don’t care what anybody thinks. I don’t care about any of it, you know. It’s a freedom issue more than anything and that’s what they got to get through their heads. If you don’t like it here, go back where you came from,” Santi said.

Selectman Jon Guiffre is among those officials who have heard the debate several times and he wants to make it clear they are not asking residents to throw anything away. “There’s been a lot of misinformation about what this means to people. The people that aren’t in favor of this who are concerned that there’s going to be some junk police running around issuing tickets and taking their stuff -- which is 100% inaccurate,” he said.

The measure, if approved, would require people to put solid waste in enclosed storage containers and require outdoor storage at homes and salvage yards to be hidden by vegetation or a fence that is at least six feet.

“I have a lot of those treasures myself but I don’t display them on Main Street and I don’t display them so my neighbors’ property value is affected,” said local resident Tom Frazier.

But others agree that residents should mind their own business when it comes to their neighbors’ junk. “I am a farmer, I am a carpenter, so I have stuff everywhere. I live outside of town. I understand they want the town to look pretty but it’s never looked pretty,” said Jay Gilman.

On Town Meeting Day, voters were confused about the wording of Article 20. Officials say those who want the ordinance should vote “no.” And those who don’t want it, should vote “yes.”