5 On Your Side

Neighbors Complain About Former Erwin Official's Mess

Posted July 11, 2007
Updated July 15, 2007

— A former Erwin town commissioner has promised to clean up his yard after years of complaints by neighbors.

Jean Sutton said she has reached the end of her rope after complaining to Erwin town officials since 2004 about mess on the property belonging to former Erwin town commissioner Robert Wilson, Jr.

Sutton lives next door to Wilson in a neighborhood a few blocks from downtown Erwin in Harnett County.

Five on Your Side visited Wilson's home and found a dilapidated pool, a junked car, piles of trash and a recently installed fence that was already crooked.

"It's a health hazard. ... It's just dangerous," said Sutton, who wants the mess cleaned up before her three grandchildren move in with her.

Sutton said that after her first complaint in 2004, a code-enforcement officer came out and took pictures. The town sent four letters to Wilson in 2005 and 2006, but nothing happened after he violated an order to clean his property by July 10, 2006, said Sutton.

In November 2006, Sutton said the Erwin town attorney Mac Hunter assured her the town would take care of the situation.

Sutton said she thinks that Wilson has used his old office to get around the town's demands.

"He served two terms on this town board as commissioner, and I think he just figures he can get around the system," said Sutton.

With the mess still on Wilson's property, Sutton called 5 on Your Side.

One of the current Erwin commissioners, Norma S. Ennis, met 5 on Your Side at Wilson's house.

"I'm gonna make sure it's done. I'll be so persistent, they'll be cleaning it next week. I promise you," said Ennis.

Wilson said that he was "blindsided" by 5 on Your Side's involvement in the case. He called the whole incident an "embarrassment" and promised to clean up the property by this past weekend.

Wilson also said that he was getting a new pool liner and had made "tremendous progress."

A visit to Wilson's house by 5 on Your Side Wednesday found some improvement, but an air conditioning unit remained in the yard, and the pool was still dilapidated.

Neither Wilson nor Ennis returned calls placed Wednesday seeking comments on their earlier promises to clean the yard.


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  • beachgirl2876 Jul 17, 2007

    I think he need to clean up his yard... But then again Robert Wilson ain't nothing but a pig so I guess he is going to live like on...

  • NCMOMof3 Jul 16, 2007

    my 8th grade Civics teacher once told our class, "your rights end when someone else's begins". I have never forgotton that. This homeowner's rights to live like a pig ends when it effects his neighbors. By the way, thanks Mrs. Askew!

  • WhatEver Jul 16, 2007

    It's his property, leave him the hell alone. If she don't like it she can clean it.

  • ugottabkiddinme Jul 16, 2007

    and this is news? if she is worried about her grandkids its her responsiblity to watch them not her neighbors.

  • Just Once Jul 14, 2007

    I bet if you look at the property of the people complaining about privacy they, like the sloppy commissioner, are not worried about their property values either....or the people around them.

  • jamib Jul 14, 2007

    Well, there is also a certain city council person in Dunn that has a yard like this that needs to be told to clean it up. He's busy running around town telling everyone else what to do and playing Santa at Christmas. He's hateful and rude and his yard looks like the dump.

  • CuriousT Jul 13, 2007

    If you want to live like a pig it is your right. HOWEVER, every town has Health ordinances that prohibit this kind of neglect. Some neighborhoods have covenants (check out your Deed) that dictate certain standards for its tenants. It IS a Public Health issue as it attracts vermin that can cross onto YOUR property and cost YOU $$ in dealing with what should be HIS problem. If you want to pay for it, move in next door to this guy.

    It is everyone's business. The properties around you also reflect the value your property has in any area. If you keep up your property and then decide to sell it, well, no one wants to move next door to a dump. You wouldn't want to move next door to a "pigsty" neighbor either.

    It's the "mind your own business" attitudes that causes some of our neighbors to go missing/die undetected. Are you watching out for your neighbor?

  • weasleyes Jul 13, 2007

    everywhere in Erwin looks like that

    Justmythoughts: Thanks for the belly laugh!

  • andrewsnc5 Jul 13, 2007

    When your willful neglect effects my property values, and the stability of a neighborhood, then it becomes community business. Living in a community comes with certain personal responsibilities. We all must abide by rules/ordinances (whether city of county), which are meant to protect the public at large. If you want to live like trash, then go somewhere where no one else is negatively impacted.

  • lilwil Jul 13, 2007

    Regardless of whether it's your yard or not, there should be ordinances to ensure upkeep of your property. It brings down the property value of the community, the city.

    First thing someone were to say, "oh, I wouldn't want to live in that town, it's so nasty and the citizens don't keep their yards in good shape.

    For heaven's sake, he was the mayor and should have been setting an example.

    Trust me, if you have to look at this daily (whether you have a fence) you have to exit and enter the neighborhood; it's depressing that someone would live like a pig.