Landowner faces big fine for wood piles, dogs

  • Ann Malinski of Barrington Hills stands next to one of Philip Maksymonko's wood piles last January. She was one of the neighbors complaining that wood spilled onto her property.

    Ann Malinski of Barrington Hills stands next to one of Philip Maksymonko's wood piles last January. She was one of the neighbors complaining that wood spilled onto her property. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
By Ben Geier
Posted7/14/2010 12:01 AM

Philip Maksymonko's property in Barrington Hills is as secluded as most of the parcels of land that line the roads of this rural oasis in the middle of the Northwest suburbs.

For the last half decade, though, his neighbors claim he has caused problems for everyone in the area by keeping huge wood piles on his property, raising dogs and composting his dogs' feces.

 

These neighbors finally had their complaints addressed last week when a Cook County judge ordered Maksymonko to cease these activities and levied a fine of more than $37,000 for various violations of zoning and public nuisance laws. Maksymonko didn't return phone calls Tuesday.

According to the official court decision, neighbors say that Maksymonko used his more than 12 acre property to hold piles of wood that measured up to 300 feet long and up to 20 feet high. The village of Barrington Hills said that this pile was a public nuisance and endangered health.

The court ordered Maksymonko, an attorney who represented himself, to "permanently remove and abate any and all logs, wood chips, tree stumps, and cut trees and branches, construction debris and detritus - except for a reasonable amount of firewood for personal use - within thirty days."

The village also accused Maksymonko of running an illegal dog-selling business on his property. Maksymonko countered that though he did breed and raise large numbers of dogs on his property, it was merely a hobby and not a moneymaking business.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The judge, Alfred L. Levinson, disagreed, citing that the kennel had too many dogs to be merely a hobby, and sold the dogs on a website for up to $1,000. Levinson ordered Maksymonko to stop breeding dogs and get rid of kennels and pens not for family pets.

Maksymonko was further ordered to stop composting dog feces, which neighbors claimed created "putrid or rancid odors."

Levinson is fining Maksymonko $14,530 for the log piles and $23,350 for the dog selling business.

These cases were only part of the legal battle Maksymonko has been fighting. He has also been fighting charges in McHenry County that his woodpiles were against county ordinances.

In May, Maksymonko agreed to remove any wood that touched his neighbors' land and any log that measured more than 36 inches in diameter. But he wasn't pleased about it.

"The county seems very concerned with neatness," he said at the time. "I think the government is sticking its nose too far into people's business."