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Tue., Oct. 6
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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LOUISVILLE - Richard C. and Joyce T. Reno purchased a home eight years ago off state Route 37B on the shores of the Grasse River, but since 2008 they feel like their property has been brought down by what they called a ‘dump’ next door.

“To me it is an eyesore and a dump,” Mr. Reno said, referring to the property owned by Gary McGregor next door to his home.

Mr. Reno said the problems began in 2008 after Mr. McGregor began accepting fill at the property.

“It defies clean fill. Clean fill is not rust, it’s not 100-year old tongue and groove sewer pipes, it’s not stumps half the size of your car,” Mr. Reno said. “It seems like anybody who wants to avoid the tipping fees for construction debris just dumps it there.”

Those dumping at the site include the village of Massena.

“All of the sewer pipe from the North Main Street project got dropped off there,” Mr. Reno said.

The village dumped “clean fill” on the property from a sewer construction project at Mr. McGregor’s request last year, according to Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad.

“We’re looking for places to dump because we’re running out of places,” Mr. Fayad said. “Periodically we get requests from people. They’re looking for clean fill ... We don’t go dumping on people’s property without them requesting it.”

There is soil as well as broken up sewer pipe in the fill, Mr. Fayad said.

“As long as they’re capping it, it’s all right,” he said.

In 2009, the couple filed a complaint with the town of Louisville and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“To date I have not gotten a written response from the town of Louisville or the state,” Mr. Reno said.

While he may not have gotten a written response, Mr. Reno said he did have two separate phone conversations regarding his complaint.

“I did get a call from a girl who worked for the town, and she said there wasn’t anything they could do about it,” he said, adding he got the same answer in a phone call with the town’s code enforcement officer, Anthony McManaman.

Mr. Reno said Mr. McManaman told him there wasn’t enough teeth in Louisville’s zoning codes to do anything about it.

“I didn’t believe it then, and I don’t believe it now,” he said. “I said to him, ‘I could buy a lot out on Wilson Hill next to the nicest home there and do the same thing?’ He said, ‘Yes.’”

In addition to the unsightliness of the property, Mr. Reno said runoff from the property flows onto his land.

“There used to be a ditch, but he filled it,” Mr. Reno said. “Sometimes when I’m mowing the lawn, the lawnmower will sink right into the land. “We don’t mind the idea of the dirt, it’s all of that other stuff,” Mrs. Reno said.

Mr. McGregor said he plans to build a home on the property.

“I’ll be building a home down there,” he said. “That’s the last of the fill. I’ll be leveling it off and covering it in grass.”

Mr. McGregor said he’s not accepting fill at the site anymore and hopes to begin construction on his home next spring.

“I didn’t even want anymore this year, but someone dumped down there without my permission,” he said. “We got to get the landscaping done first, and we’ll probably start building in spring next year.”

Mrs. Reno said that was good to hear, but not the first time they’ve heard that.

“We’re glad to hear that he plans on building a home; we just wish it didn’t take so long,” she said. “We heard the story about the house years ago.”

Mr. McGregor said he wishes Mr. and Mrs. Reno would have come to him first to express their displeasure, but he stands by what he’s done and is planning to do to the property.

“I put those evergreens in there. They were $200 apiece,” he said, referring to several trees planted along the boundary line between his land and the Renos’ property.

“I think I’m bettering the property, not hurting it.” Mr. McGregor said.

Louisville Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault said he could not recall the Renos’ 2009 complaint, but he too wishes they would have come to him or another board member before now.

“If they’re having an issue and can’t get anywhere with our code enforcement officer, they should come to myself, another board member or attend a meeting and we’ll help them anyway we can,” he said.

Mr. McManaman was out of town Thursday and unavailable for comment.

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