Two years after Dusty Farrell Rhoades' last complaint, around 23 junked cars line the right-of-way by Soldotna Auto Salvage.
Rhoades believes that the accumulated scrap blocks the potential passing motorists' view of his Conex containers stored behind the junkyard.
"People used to drive by and see containers," said the owner of Soldotna Towing. "Now all they see are junked cars."
Borough road service director Doug Schoessler came out on Monday to take a look at the property. He said that the wrecks have to be moved.
According to borough code, cars may not block travel or impede maintenance on the roads or adjoining right-of-way. If the road service finds junked cars, a compliance officer notifies the owner that they have about 35 days to remove the vehicle. If no action is taken, the officer returns and decides whether the offense is worthy of a fine.
The borough may tag a vehicle for removal, and tow the offending car at the owner's expense if it isn't removed in 48 hours.
"We try to recoup the cost," said Schoessler.
The offenders pay $75 dollars for failing to respond to a citation or complaint, and an additional $100 if the violation hinders traffic or maintenance work. A basic parking violation nets the offender a $25 ticket, and $50 for a second offense.
Jim Perletti, owner of the salvage company, plans to remove the cars in the coming days. If he doesn't clean up his yard in the next few days, Schoessler said the borough will take formal action.
"He's cooperative and started moving things," the director said. "That's the idea."
Rhoades is pessimistic. He thinks that more junked cars will replace them soon enough.
Perletti doesn't understand why Rhoades complained again after two years.
"It's like someone from the Lower 48 coming up and telling us how to live," he said.
"I came up here to get away from that."
Besides the junkers on the side of the road, Salvage's customers park on the travel surface too, but Rhoades' truck squeezes past. A pile of dirt, a Conex container, and his towing truck hang near or on the roadway by Rhoades' business, as well. According to Schoelsser, that's why Rhoades didn't persue his initial complaint two years ago.
"He wasn't entirely without fault," he said.
Troopers responded to the residence three years ago because of a report of junked cars along the right of way, but no action was taken.
"If the car is in the roadway, we have the right to impound it, but if it's in the right of way that's abandonment," said trooper Capt. Peter Mlynarik.
The director doesn't see the big fuss, but noted that this situation is much easier to remedy than most incidents. Abandoned cars can take months to identify because their former owners strip them of license plates, burn them and leave them on other's property. Towing the junker, storing it, finding the owner, draining the fluids and finally crushing the wreck can cost the borough around $1000, the director said.
It's easier for people to leave the car in the middle of the road than deal with it themselves, he guesses.
"People find out the borough is grabbing them for free and they start popping up like Easter eggs," he said.
Tony Cella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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