By Sharon Kiley Mack, Of the NEWS Staff - HARTLAND - A Pittsfield man with a record of illegal dumping has been charged with abandoning dozens of cars on property he did not own or lease in Hartland.Five months earlier, the owner had been shocked when he was cited for operating an illegal junkyard.
Daryl Woodard, age unknown, was charged last week with criminal trespass by a motor vehicle and will appear in 12th District Court in Skowhegan on Wednesday.
But the landowner, Newell Snowman of Clinton, said that when he last visited the property just over a week ago, two vehicles were still abandoned on the wooded land, and trash and dozens of tires still littered the site. Snowman said he will ask the court to require that Woodard buy the land from him.
"I'm afraid of the land now," Snowman said.
Snowman first discovered last fall that dozens of abandoned vehicles had been towed onto his property off Ford Hill Road in Hartland. The site also contained hundreds of tires, some tossed into a pond. In a visit to the once pristine woods, 51 hulks of wrecked and abandoned vehicles were counted.
Small trees had been run over and skidder tires had chewed up the soil and made the impromptu road to the site impassable.
Snowman was shocked last November when he received a citation for operating an illegal junkyard from the town's code enforcement officer, William Murphy. At 74, Snowman said he has never even had a traffic ticket.
Unaware of why he was being cited, Snowman visited the property, which he hadn't visited in at least four years and even forgot he owned until Murphy's letter arrived.
"I was shocked. I drove right out there and couldn't believe what I saw," said Snowman. A road had been created and the cars had been put in a clearing in the woods and alongside and in the pond.
Snowman has maintained a small land-development business for years and his habit is to buy a property, clean it up, improve it, then sell it, he said. The environmental damage, however, is what is concerning him now.
"I'm still waiting to hear from the [state Department of Environmental Protection]," he said. "If there is any fines or anything, I'll be responsible as the landowner."
Woodard has a history of dumping cars illegally. In Dexter, the town paid $10,000 of the estimated $100,000 it cost to clean up thousands of tires left behind by Woodard when he sold a former junkyard there.
When Woodard failed to pay his property taxes, the town foreclosed on his property in 1995.
In 1998, DEP stepped in and ordered the new owners to clean up the site. The owners approached the town about financial help in the effort, and eventually, through a Maine DEP program, the town paid $10,000 of the $100,000 cleanup costs.
Dexter has never recovered any of the cleanup costs from Woodard, town officials confirmed.
In Pittsfield, neighbors of Woodard's auto repair business at the corner of Weeks and Spring roads have often complained to town officials about the staggering number of vehicles at the site.
Pittsfield's code enforcement officer, Claude Rounds, said the vehicles are allowed on the property because it is considered an active vehicle repair shop, not a junkyard.
Woodard's wife, Patricia Woodard, pleaded guilty last fall in Skowhegan District Court to operating an unlicensed junkyard on Route 2 by Hood Brook in Pittsfield. She was ordered to pay a $500 fine and allow biweekly inspections by Pittsfield officials to ensure she is removing junked vehicles from the site.
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