Jury trial set for Knox towing business case

The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia

A fence screens trucks parked at the house on 1039 Township Road, left, built after the garage, right, where Kristen Reynders has parked tow- and flat-bed trucks for Hitmans Towing.

KNOX — While commercial zoning on Township Road was halted for the revision of the town’s comprehensive plan, legal action against a towing business there is moving ahead. The property owner cited for operating Hitmans Towing in a residential area has requested a trial by jury, scheduled for July.

Kristen Reynders has run Hitmans from her property along Township Road for several years. She moved there from Altamont, where she was warned by the village zoning administrator for parking her flatbed truck in a residential zone.

She lives on the Knox property with her husband in a house behind a garage and parking area for their trucks.

In January of this year, Reynders was accused of violating the town’s zoning law, which prohibits operating a public garage in a residential district. Among the evidence cited in the town’s complaint is a letter from Reynders proposing a special-use permit, “to operate my tow trucks and open a NYS inspection station from my existing one bay garage,” she wrote. “Our goal is to be able to offer the service’s of towing and NYS inspections and related repairs, to the residents in Knox and neighboring communities. We currently run the towing service with little interference to the surrounding properties.”

Arguing that the permit wouldn’t risk safety or welfare, Reynders wrote that she had no plans to expand at the same location, and her trucks are new, preventing odors and smoke.

In letters to the Enterprise editor and outcry during town board meetings, town residents and Reynders’s neighbors have asked the town to drop its charges and allow Hitmans to operate.

After her court hearing on May 21, Reynders told The Enterprise Hitmans isn’t currently running from her property. Asked where its trucks are parked, she said employees leave them at their homes, and the vehicles parked at her house are registered in her name.

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