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Jan 11, 2013 5:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Judge Grants Order Forcing Temporary Removal Of Vehicles From Speonk Property

Jan 16, 2013 12:59 PM

A State Supreme Court judge has granted Southampton Town’s request for a temporary restraining order, forcing the removal of several dozen cars and trucks that an auctioneer company is now storing in Speonk, according to town attorneys.

On Friday morning, Justice Jerry Garguilo granted the order stipulating that the 50 to 60 vehicles currently being stored at 1324 Speonk-Riverhead Road must be removed by 4 p.m. on Friday, January 18, according to Southampton Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato. She said fire marshals first observed the vehicles about a week and a half earlier.

The court also prohibited any construction activities on the estimated 40 office trailers that are also being stored on-site, although the trailers can stay for the time being, and ordered that the owner of the property not clear or grade the land.

Ms. Scarlato explained that the town is suing the owners of the 4.9-acre property, listed in town records as two family trusts—Thomas and Anita Samuels, and Charles and Deborah Guilloz, both of which are under the care of James H. Rambo Inc. The codefendants also include a New Jersey car auction company called J.J. Kane Auctioneers, American Trucking Services Inc. and Cassone Leasing Inc., the latter of which has offices in Ronkonkoma.

The Speonk property is zoned 1-acre light industrial, which permits the storage of vehicles and trailers but requires site plan approval by the Southampton Town Planning Board and a certificate of occupancy, Ms. Scarlato said. The property owner has neither, according to Assistant Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski.

Though she did not immediately know the next appearance date, Ms. Scarlato said attorneys for the town are seeking the permanent removal of the vehicles and trailers unless the owners of the property follow the proper permitting process.

When reached on Monday, John Kane, a manager for J.J. Kane Auctioneers, said the cars and trucks being stored on the property by his company were not damaged during Hurricane Sandy and were being kept there until they could be auctioned off. He explained that his company previously stored its vehicles at their sales site in Medford, but said they lost that yard after another company began renting the space for the storage of storm-damaged vehicles.

After receiving the “green light” from the property owners and site operators in Speonk, the company moved in the cars, Mr. Kane said. He said he was not aware that there was a problem until 48 hours after they were dropped off during the first week of January.

Mr. Kane said his company wants to remove the vehicles as soon as possible, but it has not yet found another available site, and is also awaiting the availability of a vehicle hauler. “Right now, it’s hard to get a hauler to move vehicles on Long Island,” he said.

Mr. Sendlenski said Wednesday that he could not confirm whether the cars being stored on the land had been damaged during Hurricane Sandy. He said it was his understanding, however, that the vehicles were moved from Medford after another company began paying more in rent to store storm-damaged vehicles there.

Calls placed to James Rambo Inc., Cassone Leasing and American Trucking Services were not returned this week.

According to Mr. Sendlenski, James Rambo Inc. had leased the land to American Trucking Services, the company that transported the office trailers to the site, before subleasing a portion of the land to J.J. Kane Auctioneers.

Town attorneys are also seeking the court-ordered removal of an estimated 4,000 storm-damaged vehicles from another site at 144 Old Country Road, adjacent to the 1324 Speonk-Riverhead Road parcel. In December, State Supreme Court Justice Thomas F. Whelan denied a similar request for a temporary restraining order for that site.

“It is discretionary,” Ms. Scarlato said, when asked why the courts denied the request for a restraining order for the Old Country Road property, but granted one for the Speonk-Riverhead Road property.

Last week, the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission authorized enforcement action against the owner of an Eastport farm where storm-damaged vehicles are being stored. Dick Amper, the executive director of the Pine Barrens Society, sharply criticized the group for its inaction against other similar storage sites in the pine barrens, including the Enterprise Park at Calverton and the Speonk sites.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, a member of the commission, did not return multiple calls seeking comment about the Speonk properties and any possible future action from the commission on the issue.

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i happen to drive by the property on speonk-riverhead road....who cares....leave it to Southampton Town to had out tax bills and question the way people can raise the money. This is a non issue. Waste of taxpayer dollars.
Jan 12, 13 4:10 PM appended by The Real World
i happen to drive by the property on speonk-riverhead road....who cares....leave it to Southampton Town to hand out tax bills and question the way people can raise the money. This is a non issue. Waste of taxpayer dollars.
By The Real World (347), southampton on Jan 12, 13 4:10 PM
Real World - I guess we should just throw out zoning laws right? Because the Town taxes us, so we need should be able to generate revenue anyway we want.... Guess it would be OK if your neighbor started running an auto-body shop out of this back yard, or better yet a strip joint in his basement. Gotta make that $$$ some how right??
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 13, 13 11:00 AM
Don't question what is pouring into your drinking water from this junk yard and try living in The Real World. This is what I want MY taxpayer dollars working on.
By tee2sea (16), Remsenburg on Jan 13, 13 10:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
"Judge Grants Order Forcing Temporary Removal Of Storm-Damaged Vehicles From Speonk"

Temporary removal? Does this mean the vehicles will be moved back at some point in time?
By loading... (547), quiogue on Jan 13, 13 11:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
In theory if they meet the requirements of the Town, the vehicles will be allowed back.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 14, 13 9:09 AM
First of all....industrial property. Second of all..if the Town owned it , all would be fine (look at whats going on in Riverhead). It is not a "junkyard". Inspections for leaking oil or any other environmental problems could be addressed. Once again, Nature, you take things to the extreme and never use common sense.
By The Real World (347), southampton on Jan 14, 13 7:47 AM
I took the example to the "extreme" because your arguement is "extreme" as you are advocating for zoning laws to be ignored because, "leave it to Southampton Town to [had] out tax bills and question the way people can raise the money".

Yea, it may be industrial property - but there's no site plan approval for it. It is essentially a junk yard, and without any approval from the Town, the Town has no way of going in and doing inspections. Also, the vehicles were sitting on bare soil - ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 14, 13 9:13 AM
Thank heavens you were not around in the early 1900's. We would not have had an industrial revolution.
By The Real World (347), southampton on Jan 14, 13 9:24 AM
.... speaking of extreme
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 14, 13 9:34 AM
PS -- Speaking of the real world, the Industrial Revolution was in the 1800's was it not? And before that, there were cave men and woman, who followed the chimps and apes.

Easy to romanticize that past . . .

Pollution and the violation of laws is in the present "Real World" and Nature is on the money here IMO.

PS -- The Industrial Revolution has its share of "not so good" effects too BTW. Where do you think mega-pollution has its roots?
By PBR (4862), Southampton on Jan 14, 13 10:04 AM
Zoning laws are just that...Law. Building Inspecors, Fire Marshalls, Code Enf, police officers, are paid by Town taxes, and NYS, to enforce Laws. If the Town were to ignore the illegal use in question, an argument could be made that the Town is giving tacit approval, and by extension, allowing any use to forego a Planning review. Good for a few, bad for the rest. Young citizens should be taught this stuff in high school. Why aren't they?
By kelbas (29), Southampton on Jan 15, 13 11:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Excellent point Kelbas - and I'll add to that.

There are many times when the general public complains that "the Town has nothing better to do" or "the police have nothing better to do" than XYZ. Well, first off, I don't see why applying the LAW is something to be looked down upon. If the law is so unworthy of enforcement, why is it on the books?

Second, and more importantly, 95% of the time these situations stem from constituent complaints. If I complain to the supervisor (repeatedly) ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 16, 13 9:05 AM
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