Tip List: Neighbors tired of messy yard; county may have to issue a fine

May 28, 2009 

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SUN-STAR PHOTO BY JONAH LAMB Tip list

JONAH LAMB — Merced Sun-Star

Three trucks, a couple boats, two trailers and a bulbous metal object that looks like an airplane's gas tank surround a house in the Beachwood neighborhood west of Merced.

The house itself isn't much better.

Some of its windows appear boarded up, and around back, large piles of wood fencing lie spread across a field for no apparent reason.

It looks like a messy yard in the country.

But a junk yard?

Residents in this neighborhood seem to think so.

Across the road, newer suburban-style homes peer across the road at their neighbor like ladies in their Sunday best, embarrassed to be so close to a farmer in his dirty overalls.

Some of those residents are less than pleased at what they see at 2877 Lobo Ave.

An anonymous tipster called, complaining about the property, saying it looked like a junk yard.

He said he called the county and even spoke to the house's resident -- to no avail.

The owner of the property, Clyde Johnson, according to county records, couldn't be reached.

Katie Albertson, the county's spokeswoman, said the county has no records of any complaints about the location.

But, she said, the county Department of Environmental Health will send someone out to see if the property is in violation.

If there's garbage or waste on the property, then the county can make the owner clean it up. The owner has 30 days to clean up the rubble, Albertson added.

If he doesn't clean it up by that time, he's responsible the $109 fee for a county worker's monthly inspection of the site.

Finally, if the muck and yuck continue to linger, the county can cite the owner for a solid waste infraction.

Typically, said Albertson, the fine is a motivating force.

If boats and cars are abandoned, then the county can remove them with the consent of the owner.

But if the vehicles are registered -- tough luck. The county can't do a thing about them.

What is wrong: Some residents in the Beachwood area don't like the look of a junk-filled yard.

Who is responsible: Whoever lives at 2877 Lobo Avenue.

If you see a mess that might need to be cleaned up, call Merced County's Department of Environmental Health at (209) 381-1100.

If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Jonah Owen Lamb, with your tips at (209) 385-2484 or e-mail jlamb@mercedsun-star.com.