TROUBLESHOOTERS: Folks in one New Hanover County neighborhood are at their wits' end. They say their neighbor has turned the front of his home into a junk yard, and they're sick of looking at it. After almost two years trying to get this resolved on their own, they called us. Frustrated neighbor Rolan McQuain said, "There are all kinds of things sitting in the yard… Piles of cement, cars, trailers -- in fact, sometimes you can't see the house." It's a quiet neighborhood in the Kings Grant area of New Hanover County. Residents tell NewsChannel 3 they love living here, except for the eyesore on Norwich Drive. They say it's bringing down their property values. "It's infringing on the other neighbors, I'm the one who's complaining, but everyone in the neighborhood talks about it, it's something that needs to be cleaned up." David Kimball lives in the house in question. New Hanover County code inspectors have a file about his house on record. They say county residents are not allowed to have inoperable vehicles on their property, and Mr. Kimball has been notified for violating that rule in the past. Assistant Chief Enforcement Officer Steven Still said, "No one wants to live next to someone that has four or five inoperable vehicles that are sort of blocking driveways, or just junking up the neighborhood. And there are some health aspects as well, especially to have rusted vehicles in the yard, especially for kid safety." Code inspectors say Kimball seems to clean up his property when he's being threatened with a fine, but when the threat passes, the junk returns. Since code enforcement inspections are complaint driven, officials recommend that neighbors stay vigilant about notifying them about recurring problems. "Taking photos, taking accounts of what's going on really helps us, in issuing our notice of violation," Still said. We asked Kimball about the mess in his front yard. He told us he was in the process of remodeling the house and later said that he'd had illness in the family delaying the clean up. He also ordered us off his property. If you're wondering, the county does have the authority to make a resident clean up their yard. If the resident refuses to comply, the county can hire a contractor to do the job, then put a lien against the resident's house to cover the cost of the clean up.
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