06/29/04 — City sues former councilmember, four others for junked-car removal

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City sues former councilmember, four others for junked-car removal

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on June 29, 2004 2:02 PM

The city has filed lawsuits against five Goldsboro businesses for refusing to get rid of junked cars, including a business owned by a former member of the City Council.

Three of the businesses are on North Berkeley Boulevard. They are: All Tune & Lube, owned by Delmus Bridgers Ltd. Corp., Trinity Auto, owned by Melissa B. Sauls and J&L Auto, owned by David Swinson.

Bridgers was a member of the council until this year.

Junked cars near US 70 bypass and Berkeley Blvd

News-Argus/Dennis Hill

The days are numbered for these junked cars, now seen from U.S. 70 bypass near the intersection with Berkeley Boulevard. The city has filed lawsuits against several businesses to get them to remove junk cars.

The other two businesses being sued are Lofton Auto & Details on Slocumb Street, owned by Sidney Lawrence and Janelle Marie Portier, and A&R Garage on North William Street, owned by Francisco and Caridad Huezca.

City officials said that for months they had sent warning letters asking the businesses to comply with the city's abandoned and junked vehicles ordinance.

All the lawsuits said the city began its investigation of the businesses after numerous complaints from the public.

Bridgers' place, and his hardware store beside it, have been the subject of various complaints, including the outside storage of rusted storage cans, bits and pieces of old furniture, broken appliances and bales of wire.

City officials said the zoning ordinance does not specifically address problems created by storing junk, other than automobiles, outside. A new ordinance, expected to be completed later this summer, probably will have stricter guidelines.

In the meantime, the city has chosen to enforce the junked or abandoned vehicle ordinance to try and clean up some of the mess around Goldsboro.

According to the city's ordinance, a junked motor vehicle is a vehicle that doesn't display a current license plate and is partly dismantled or wrecked. The automobile also cannot be self-propelled, is more than five years old and is worth less than $100.

In each lawsuit, the city says that "despite repeated demands, the defendants have failed or refused to remove and cease the continuing violation of the city's abandoned and junked vehicle ordinances."

The city asks that a temporary restraining order be issued against the defendants prohibiting them from violating the ordinances of the city, and ordering them to correct the violations immediately.

If the defendants don't correct the violations, the city asks that they be cited for contempt.

The suit also asks for a permanent injunction against each business, prohibiting them from putting junked cars on any of the sites in the future.