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Problem Solver: Winterville homeowner on notice to clean up filthy yard

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. -

Everyone has had to deal with some unpleasant neighbors from time to time, but people living in Winterville refuse to put up with it any longer.
    
They said they've been dealing with their neighbor's overgrown yard and trash for close to 10 years now.

On Forlines Road in Winterville, neighbors even posted a sign to get action. The sign asks, "When are you going to clean up this mess?

They're talking about overgrown grass and trash.

Donnie Wilson's relationship with his next door neighbors hasn't exactly been friendly over the years, but there's one thing that really grinds his wheels.

"Over the last 8 to 10 years they have not mowed the grass or anything," he said. "Actually, the grass has been mowed twice."

Wilson came up with a plan; the sign, prominently displayed in his front yard, points directly next door to a yard overgrown with weeds and trash.

"I figured, if I did post a sign, then maybe somebody would see it and we would get some action," said Wilson.

He said the owner of the house, Robert Hammond, hasn't stayed there for quite some time.

9 On Your Side knocked on the door, but nobody answered.
    
Now, neighbors are concerned, it's not only an eye-sore, but a health hazard too.

"Copperheads, poisonous snakes, feral cats, rats, you name it, it's over there," said Wilson. "As I said before, I'd rather walk through the woods than walk through the back yard."

"My grandchildren come over and I don't want a snake to bite them," said Sidney Spain, neighbor.

Over the years, they've called every agency they could think of, but the neighborhood is outside of town limits and ordinances didn't apply.
   
Today, they got a glimmer of hope.

After several years without one, the town of Winterville recently hired a code enforcer.

"The old code enforcement officer that they had out in Winterville has been gone for several years," explained Mike Weldin, Winterville Code Enforcement. "But now that I've been hired to do this specific position, our efforts are ramping up quite a bit."

Within the last year, a new public ordinance was brought into effect extending the code enforcement area to include Forlines Road.

"There's no excuse for any neighbor anywhere in this county having to live beside something like this," he added.

As for this property, Weldin said, "Note taken."

He said the homeowners will receive a letter in the mail.

If they don't fix their property in the next 10-20 days, town officials will come in and clean up. They will then bill the homeowner.
    
Weldin said he expects the grass to be cut in the next two weeks.

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