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Move tires, North Versailles magistrate orders property owner

Submitted by North Versailles Township
These are some of the tires that North Versailles Township and state Department of Environmental Protection agents found on the property of Stephen J. Kocsis, who agreed to remove the tires by Oct. 30 or face a penalty of $1,000 a day.

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Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, 4:41 a.m.
 

A North Versailles Township property owner has agreed to remove approximately 1,000 tires that have accumulated behind his Crestas Terrace home.

Authorities said Stephen J. Kocsis agreed to comply by Oct. 30 or face fines of up to $90,000, or $1,000 a day, in connection with two counts of unlawful conduct.

“The next phase will be the Dumpster,” Kocsis was heard telling authorities on Wednesday as he left Magisterial District Judge Robert L. Barner's courtroom.

It was the continuation of a summary trial that began June 19 for Kocsis, 52.

The charges filed by the township and state Department of Environmental Protection stem from alleged dumping during the past five years behind a home Kocsis owns on Crestas Avenue.

“We have come to an agreement that we would like to extend for 90 days so he can clean it up,” DEP solid waste specialist John W. Kendall told Barner.

“DEP is satisfied with the agreement giving Mr. Kocsis time to remove the tires from his property,” Pittsburgh DEP spokesman John Poister said. “However, there are serious consequences if the property is not cleared within that time period.”

While Kendall requested an increase in a $300-a-day fine pending against Kocsis when the case first went to Barner, even he was stunned by the ruling.

“That's the highest fine I have ever seen him issue,” said township code enforcement officer Allen R. Wagner, who was involved in the case with police and the DEP.

“We're going to remediate the situation,” said Mark Clement, one of two attorneys retained by Kocsis. “Mr. Kocsis will also have to provide DEP with receipts showing that the tires have been disposed of in an approved and environmentally safe manner,” Poister said.

Kendall was the only witness at Wednesday's court session. In June, township police officer K.A. Silvis testified there were “probably about one thousand” tires spread out over three locations.

At that time, Kendall pledged to go after “the generators of those tires.”

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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