I’ve just finished reading the front page article in the March 5 Apalachicola Times (See “County nixes Lanark Dollar General.”) Although I didn’t care one way or another whether a dollar store was to be built in Lanark or not, I was glad that the process to change or not change the zoning was followed and the people were listened to. This was good and proper, but I wonder what would have happened if the dollar store people had decided to just ignore the zoning laws, and just went and built their store without regards to anything or anybody.
You may think this is a ridiculous notion and that they would be shut down immediately, and told to tear it down. Well, maybe not!
I live in Lanark village on a street called Enabob. Everything on this street is zoned residential, with houses only. Right directly across from my house, a man bought a lot and put a very old camper on it that he uses as his full-time residence. He has no septic tank, but somehow has water and electricity to his camper. If this sounds wrong, it is, but it gets worse.
This neighbor also started and still runs a metal salvage yard. He has junk scattered all of the way out to the edge of the street and can barely park on his own property. He hauls in all sorts of old appliances, such as washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners etc., along with any other imaginable metal items. While loading and unloading this mess, he is usually parked in the middle of the road. He has also let the word out that he will take everyone’s junk. So not only is this neighbor constantly parked in the road unloading junk, so are several people on most days. To make matters worse, if that is possible, he can be heard at all hours sawing, chopping and dismembering these appliances and other junk.
You would think that one call to the proper authorities and this mess would get cleaned up and the camper would be removed. Not So!
Over the past few years several neighbors, myself included, have made calls to each and every county entity that might have the power to step in. Every time, we neighbors are told that nothing can be done about it. Just a few weeks ago I asked County Commissioner Bert Boldt about this issue, and he said that he has been working on the problem for a while with no results. He said that though my neighbor is clearly violating many zoning laws, the county could not do anything about it. He said that we do not have any code enforcement officers in the county and no one is authorized to make him clean up this mess.
Commissioner Boldt then went on to tell me that he had contacted the health department officials with the information that my neighbor was living in a camper and had no septic system of any kind. According to Mr. Boldt, the health officials said that my neighbor told them that he gets in his truck and drives to the Lanark Village Boat Club property, and uses their bathroom. This was good enough for the health officials, according to Commissioner Boldt, and thus there were no health issues for them to address! I for one don’t believe that this neighbor ever drives to the boat club to use the facilities. I say this because on very warm summer days, you can smell the stench of feces. This is very disturbing to say the least!
I will conclude by saying that if the residents of Lanark Village want to keep our community serene and pristine, they should collectively demand that this issue be addressed and fixed. If not, any one of you could find yourself with a neighbor like mine, which in my opinion is much worse than having a dollar store next door!
Longtime Lanark Village resident