OAKFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A trash hauler in northeast Kent County is in heaps of trouble, accused of dumping on property not licensed for it.
“He’s illegally dumping,” said a neighbor, referring to Chuck Gee Jr., who operates Gee’s Rolling Dumpsters.
Gee doesn’t live on a plot of land along Stultz Road east of Heintzelman Road NE in rural Oakfield Township, but he bought it a couple years back through a land contract.
“I don’t like to sit on my couch and look out and see trash, piles and piles of garbage,” the neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, told Target 8 Thursday.
While you can’t see the trash and junk vehicles from the road, neighbors have a pretty good view of it from their backyards.
“There were tons and tons of white trash bags, and when the cars started piling up, it was enough,” the neighbor said.
Neighbors started complaining to Oakfield Township authorities early in the summer.
“It’s terrible,” Roger Mason, the township zoning administrator, said. “Used shingles, household trash, brush, junk vehicles, junk appliances. Would you want that next to your house?”
When Mason ordered that the property be cleaned up, Gee, 52, removed most of the vehicles and some of the trash.
“I rented a John Deere tractor and I picked up most of it,” Gee told Target 8 Wednesday.
But Gee said he’s not finishing the cleanup until the neighbors stop “harassing” him.
“Every time we go there, (the neighbor’s) riding her vehicle back there taking pictures,” Gee said.
One of the neighbors recorded video of Gee unloading another dumpster — allegedly full of brush, trash and debris — in early September.
“He said it was firewood,” recalled Mason, the township zoning administrator. “There was brush in there, but that was not firewood. No way.”
The September incident prompted Oakfield Township to cite Gee civilly for violating zoning ordinances. The case is scheduled for a hearing in 63rd District Court on Oct. 26.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has also ordered Gee to complete the cleanup by Oct. 18 or face enforcement actions that could include fines. The DEQ visited the property and told Target 8 it “did not observe dangerous chemicals – household or otherwise – that would cause an immediate hazard.”
Still, neighbors are extra sensitive after the PFAS contamination scare in the northern part of the county.
The DEQ said Gee is violating a portion of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, which requires disposal of construction and demolition waste as a properly permitted and licensed disposal facility.
“Staff at the DEQ verified several loads of waste that had been dumped on the ground,” read a letter DEQ sent to Gee.
“You indicated that you had dumped the loads on the ground and that you would clean them up and haul them for proper disposal,” the letter continued.
For his part, Gee told Target 8 that some the trash on the property was left behind by the previous owner.
“I’m a good person, anybody could tell you that,” Gee said. “I’d give my shirt off my back for a lot of people.”
Gee said he understands he can’t dump on the property and he does intend to clean it all up.
“But it won’t get cleaned up if (the neighbor) keeps going the way she’s been doing it. … Because I ain’t gonna have the harassment and have pictures and video every time I go there, every time I pull in the driveway,” he said.
Gee acknowledge he has had some trouble with other townships previously regarding dumpster placement. Court records show he has been cited for ordinance violations in Plainfield and Algoma townships, as well as Oakfield.
Kent County authorities told Target 8 that Gee’s Rolling Dumpsters has previously dropped off solid waste at the county’s 10 Mile Road transfer facility. But in 2016, the county began requiring that haulers using the facility be licensed.
Gee has applied for a license, but has not submitted some of the necessary paperwork, according to the county.