Huntington looks to shut mulching business

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Huntington Town officials have temporarily shut down a mulching and wood chipping operation on Jericho Turnpike that residents have complained about for decades and town officials say has been operating illegally.

Wayne and John Dougal, owners of Big Dougs Enterprises, Indian Head Ranch at 1130 W. Jericho Tpke., were served with a temporary restraining order Tuesday and must cease operations at least until a hearing in State Supreme Court set for Thursday. During the hearing, the town is expected to also ask the judge to order a cleanup and remediation of the property, in compliance with New York State fire and town codes.

Town Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said he is pleased the town will have its day in court because "enough is enough" with what he describes as a problem property.

"For some time, the town has been awaiting decisions on our requests that a judge order the illegal activity on this property to cease," Petrone said of the dispute that has lasted at least 10 years over various issues. "Meanwhile, the defendants have continued to operate."

After a fire Monday in a 25-foot-high mulch pile on the property, which straddles the Huntington-Oyster Bay border, fire officials issued three summonses. Two were for violations of the state fire code -- for storing and processing compost and for storage and processing without a required emergency plan. The third summons was for violating town code, which prohibits open burning. All three summonses are answerable in Suffolk County District Court, and town officials say they have requested expedited hearings. Attempts to reach company representatives were unsuccessful.

Laura Shady, who says she has been plagued by odor emanating from the property during her 33 years as a neighbor, said she is cautiously optimistic about what comes next.

"I don't understand the ramifications of temporary," she said. "I would hate for the owners to begin operating again; it really needs to be permanent."

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