07/08/05 — City tightens rules on overgrown yards, junk cars

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City tightens rules on overgrown yards, junk cars

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 8, 2005 1:45 PM

Can anyone see any cars with flat tires or up on blocks in your yard?

If not, is it because weeds obscure the view?

If you answered "yes" to either question, listen up -- it may have just become more expensive to be you.

Tuesday, the Goldsboro City Council tightened regulations on junked vehicles, overgrown yards and other nuisances. Offending homeowners are now more likely to get citations and face fines of $100 or more.

The city's code enforcement officers are already on the lookout for violators, but they are, for now, more likely to warn people than cite them.

"We'll be working to get the word out" about the changes, said Planning Director Randy Guthrie on Wednesday. "All we're ultimately looking for is to correct the violations."

For several months, the council has been concerned that city ordinances were too loose and allowing homeowners to have junky yards. Officials talked about it during their retreat in March and then again during a work session in June.

The city had already prohibited junked vehicles, which are defined as unlicensed cars or trucks that cannot run; that are partially dismantled or wrecked; or that are more than five years old and worth less than $100.

But city residents were given an "out" -- put a manufactured car cover over the vehicle and inspectors would ignore it.

The problem was that there was no limit how many covered cars anyone might have. The city has received many complaints about people with two or more junkers, some even in the front yard.

The revised ordinance passed Tuesday allows a resident to have only one junked vehicle, which must be covered and kept in a rear yard. People with corner lots will need to move vehicles to places where they cannot be viewed easily from the street.

The new rules also authorize the city to fine people $100, plus the cost of the tow, if it's forced to remove a vehicle. Previously, the fine was not clear, so people were rarely, if ever, charged the fine, Guthrie said.

The council also rewrote the nuisance rules to allow a $100 fine of people who refuse to clean up trashy or overgrown yards. The ordinance also allows code enforcement officers greater freedom to cite repeat offenders, such as people who continuously refuse to mow their grass.