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Neighbors want Greenwood Lane property cleaned

Junked and rusting automobiles lie scattered or in rows by thedozens on the slightly rolling hills in front of a large barn onGreenwood Lane. Many are stripped bare, with doors and trunks openwide.

It is a graveyard for vehicles, and rusted bones lie among therefuse of forgotten hulks.

Greenwood Lane residents want what they call an “eyesore”removed from their neighborhood. Repeated attempts to persuade theneighbor to clean up the property have been unsuccessful and thecounty has done nothing to help, they said.

Attempts by The DAILY LEADER to contact John Lenoir, who ownsthe property at 326 Greenwood Lane, were unsuccessful.

The residents’ drive is spearheaded by Dr. Dorothy Alexander,who owns property near Lenoir’s.

“It is a terrible eyesore, and he doesn’t care,” she said.

Alexander said she has done everything she can to broach theproblem, from talking to Lenoir to appearing before the countyBoard of Supervisors twice, but no one seems compelled to doanything. At one time, Alexander compiled a petition of 35 ofLenoir’s neighbors in the Greenwood Community.

The problem began in 1998, she said. At that time Lenoir beganmoving old vehicles onto his property.

According to Alexander, Lenoir claims he is not in the salvagebusiness.

“He does not have a business license and says it’s not abusiness,” she said, “but he buys junk cars, takes them apart andthen they are crushed. What do you take the parts off for if you’renot going to sell them? Common sense will tell you that.”

Alexander and another neighbor, Albert Hooker, said they havepersonally witnessed Lenoir selling parts to customers.

“He’s selling parts off those cars,” Hooker said. “He can denyit all he wants, I’ve seen it.”

Hooker also said that he can see the glow of welding torches ina large barn at the back of Lenoir’s property late in the afternoonuntil late at night and can also hear the buzzing of saws.

Although Alexander does not like the appearance of Lenoir’sproperty in the neighborhood a short distance away from homesranging in value from $150,000 and up, she concedes he has theright to do what he likes with his property.

The neighbors, however, do want him to do three things — get abusiness license, build a fence to eliminate dangers to childrenand from pests, and to keep the business 1,000 feet from the mainroad in accordance to state law regarding salvage yards.

“It is unfair to the others who have salvage yards that hedoesn’t pay taxes on his business,” she said. “What we want thisman to do is to move his inventory back 1,000 feet and build atasteful fence across the front so it doesn’t erode our propertyvalues or offend our eyesight.”

Hooker agreed. “I wouldn’t get my property’s value right now ifI had to sell,” he said.

Alexander said she has even contacted the state attorneygeneral’s office for help, but they told her she needed to get thecounty to draft an ordinance against junkyard properties andsalvage yards. She said she has appeared before the county boardtwice about Lenoir’s property and the board approved a motion tocreate an ordinance to address the issue.

The board did approve a County Litter Ordinance that becameeffective in December 2001. In its definitions of terms itspecifically lists abandoned automobiles, small automobile partsand tires as litter, but does not address the same on privateproperty.

The resolution also lists an abandoned automobile as “forming anunauthorized dump.” It further states that “any collection of solidwastes either dumped or caused to be dumped or placed on anyproperty either public or private, whether or not regularly used”as an unauthorized dump.

According to the resolution, under the control of littersection, “unauthorized dumps are declared to be a public nuisanceper se and shall be eliminated by removal or onsite burial,” and itfurther outlines procedures for enforcement of the ordinance’spolicies.

“That was two years ago,” she said of the county’s passing theordinance. “Nothing’s been done so far.”

Although Alexander is primarily concerned with the GreenwoodLane property, she said unlicensed salvage yards or junk piles arescattered throughout the county and all pose the same problems.

Ronnie Durr, the county solid waste/litter control officer, wasunavailable for comment, but David Fields, county administrator,said the county does have a procedure for handling illegal dumps.That process is more lengthy when the dump is on privateproperty.

“We first have to exhaust all property owner possibilities,” hesaid.

Fields said he could not comment specifically about theGreenwood Lane problem because he was not handling it.