Potsdam Board of Trustees orders removal of seven ‘toilet gardens’

One of Hank Robar’s toilet gardens on Maple Street, across from Clarkson University. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

POTSDAM — The village Board of Trustees unanimously voted Monday to find Mr. Frederick “Hank” Robar in violation of the junk storage law and ordered him to dismantle his seven “toilet gardens” by Sept. 1.

“The trustees after due deliberation direct removal of all the toilets on all the properties in issue on or before September 1st, 2020,” Trustee Stephen Warr read from the resolution. “If the toilets are not fully and completely removed from all the properties issued, the trustees reserve the right to direct entry by the village upon all the properties at issue to affect the removal and or abatement at the expense of Mr. Robar.”

Mr. Warr filled in for Mayor Reinhold Tischler who was attending the meeting remotely. Trusties Maggie McKenna and Alexandra Jacobs-Wilke were in attendance. Abby Lee was absent.

“The Village of Potsdam Board is entitled to its opinion as to the validity of the law that they passed and its application, but it will be contested by Mr. Robar to protect his rights under the law,” Mark Snider of Snider and Smith LLP in Massena, who represents Mr. Robar, said when reached for comment following the meeting.

Administrator Greg Thompson declined to comment on the matter, citing advice by the village attorney not to discuss matters of involving litigation.

Monday’s move comes as the latest development in a 16-year string of battles between Mr. Robar and the village. The spat initially began in 2004 when Mr. Robar was denied a zoning change on his property at 82-84 Market St. Mr. Robar responded with his form of porcelain protest which led to his now seven toilet gardens across the village. Two previous attempts by the village to force the removal of the toilets were unsuccessful.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(5) comments


I will fund a lawsuit for 30% of the damage award!


The property in the picture seems well maintained. Grass is mowed. Flowers neatly placed. Have any citizens objected? Save the garden!

Honest Abe

Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it is not art. We need to dissolve the village.


I smell a lawsuit. I smell sweet Victory. I smell punitive damages award.


Bunch of bullies...flush on

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.