Junkyard plan for Fulton’s Summit Shock facility outrages neighbors

Above: The Summit Shock Facility in the Schoharie County town of Fulton was closed in 2011. Photo via the New York State Office of General Services, via Flickr

Over two dozen residents packed the Fulton Town Hall on Monday, Oct. 19 to express their opinions about the proposed opening of a junk and recycling facility at the one-time Summit Shock Facility.

After Judith Mills and her son Dean Hansen purchased the former state correctional facility for $204,000 last December, the duo rattled local nerves by submitting plans to the Fulton Planning Board that would use part of the 19.9-acre parcel as a junkyard.

Above: The shuttered Summit Shock facility in 2012. Photo via NYSOGS on Flickr

The meeting, which was the continuation of a months-long public hearing on the subject, at times became heated as residents and Hansen exchanged words. A police presence was visible: Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond and a road patrol deputy both attended the meeting.

An unidentified resident, who stated that she had no issue when the former correctional facility housed minimum security prisoners, angrily commented that she did not "want a junkyard next to my house," which she claimed was worth over $220,000.

“You're not going to be happy with anything else that is there,” Hansen shot back, remarking that the speaker had once been an employee of the Summit Shock Facility.

Above: A floor mat from the shuttered Summit Shock facility. Photo via NYSOGS on Flickr

The one-time home of some of New York's least-threatening inmates, Summit Shock was closed in 2011 as part of budget cuts instituted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The closure resulted in the loss of approximately 130 jobs, with the facility sitting empty until now. 

Still, the new junkyard proposal has rekindled a longstanding dispute over the legality of junkyards in Fulton, according to the Cobleskill Times-Journal

On Oct. 19, although Fulton Planning Board Chair Peter Shulman had planned on closing the public hearing, the board decided against it after a group of residents requested a one-month postponement to review the mother-son duo's public business plan.

Agreeing to keep the public hearing open through the planning board's next meeting on Monday, Nov. 16, Shulman said that the "next meeting needs to be the final."

Impatient with a process that has dragged on for months, Hansen protested, asking if they could go over the business plan then and there.

"No," responded Shulman, standing by the board's decision. "We're doing this specifically so the people can do final discourse.”