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James L. White/Staff

Harrison city clerk Jeff Pratt (from left), city attorney Grant Ragland, Mayor Jerry Jackson and Alderman Bill Boswell talk following the most recent Harrison City Council meeting.

The Harrison City Council has voted to adopt an ordinance requiring screening of salvage yards, but it will be a couple of years before those businesses have to fully comply.

The ordinance was put on its second reading at a meeting in June, but there were some questions about what qualified as a salvage yard in the ordinance.

The ordinance defines a salvage yard as any parcel of land or building for which the principal or accessory use is the storing, keeping, dismantling, collection, salvaging, buying or selling of (1) scraps or discarded pieces of metal, paper, rags, tires, bottles, furniture and other materials, (2) inoperable, wrecked, scrapped, ruined or discarded automobiles, automobile parts, machinery or appliances.

According to the ordinance:

• A junk or salvage yard shall not include premises on which such uses are conducted entirely within a completely enclosed building, nor shall a junk or salvage yard include premises used primarily for the sale or storage of operable automobiles or for the overhaul or full repair thereof, so long as no inoperable junk or wrecked automobiles remains outside more than 60 days — modified from the original ordinance that required 45 days. Any premises on which there remains outside more than 60 days — another modification from 45 days — an inoperable, partially dismantled, wrecked, or junked automobile, shall be deemed for the purpose of this ordinance, a salvage yard.

• Exterior storage and processing areas within 100 feet of any highway or city street shall be screened by a solid wall or fence at least eight feet high so located as to prevent visibility from any highway or city street. Fabric or mesh screens used with chain link or other similar types of fencing shall have a minimum visibility blockage of 80%. Such fence shall not be used for advertising signs, but may contain an identification sign not to exceed 20 square feet (the original ordinance allowed for a 10-square-foot sign).

Alderman Bill Boswell, chairman of the Resources and Policy Committee, told council members that the ordinance had been proposed, then kicked back to committee, so he saw no reason not to pass the ordinance that night as it had been amended.

With little fanfare, the council voted unanimously to approve the second and third readings of the ordinance, to adopt it and the invoke an emergency clause that means it will go into effect upon publication.

The ordinance states that salvage yard owners affected have one year from adoption of the ordinance to begin complying with requirements and two years to be in full compliance.

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