Laconia junkyard suit

An earlier-model Chevy Corvette, an antique farm tractor and a vehicle frame are among the items at 501 Roller Coaster Road in Laconia that have prompted the city to assert the owner is running an illegal junkyard.

LACONIA — City land use officials toured 501 Roller Coaster Road with the property owner on Monday to determine if the antique and classic cars on site are properly registered.

In March, the city filed a civil suit against Robert Kjellander requesting preliminary and permanent injunctive relief alleging that his property was being illegally used as a junkyard.

In his written response to the complaint, Kjellander, who is representing himself, denied the allegations, said the cars on the property are registered and asserted that he had shown the registrations to the code enforcement officer.

A hearing was scheduled in Belknap County Superior Court on Aug. 8, and the parties reached a written agreement calling for the joint inspection of the residential zoned property with the city to file a written report with the court a week later indicating whether further legal action is necessary.

Attorney Laura Spector-Morgan, of Mitchell Municipal Group PA of Laconia, on behalf of the city, has requested the court to levy a $275-a-day fine against Kjellander for each day the alleged violations have continued since the property owner was most recently notified via letter that he had run afoul of state and city regulations. The city is also seeking to recover attorney’s fees and legal costs.

In the complaint, the city is asking a judge to order Kjellander to either rid his property of an accumulation of junk or get the needed approvals to operate a junkyard. The property, which sits at the corner of Parade Road and Roller Coaster Road, is dotted with a series of outbuildings dispersed with a fleet of sailboats, horse-drawn farming implements, classic cars, car parts, old tractors, motorcycles and a horse trailer.

“I am not selling parts, I am not open for business,” Kjellander wrote in response to the city’s claim that he is operating an unlicensed junkyard.

According to the Local Government Center, since 1965 all municipalities in the state have had the responsibility to license junkyards at the local level. The landowner does not need to be involved in commercial operation, or even intend to sell the material. If the material is a motor vehicle or auto parts, an accumulation amounting to two or more vehicles is enough to require a license.

Under state law, it no longer matters whether the vehicles are registered; they become “junk” if they are no longer intended for operations on the highways. If the accumulation is machinery, an area exposed to public view greater than 500 square feet triggers the licensing obligation.

The city has repeatedly sent written notices to Kjellander dating back to July 2004 informing him that he was in violation of city ordinances.

In court filings, Kjellander maintains the antique cars he has are registered and that other vehicles he owns never leave the property.