Local News

Nature or Nuisance? Neighbors Fight Over Tree-Filled Yard

Posted April 13, 2007

— A Fayetteville couple is fighting city and court orders to thin the trees and underbrush in their front yard.

City inspectors cited Donald and Susan Fawkes last year, saying their property at 1701 Boros Drive could be a breeding ground for rats and mosquitoes.

In February, a district court judge ordered the couple to remove 30 percent of the trees on their property. When they refused to comply, they were placed them on probation for six months.

The Fawkeses have appealed the sentence, so no trees will be cut down until the case is heard in superior court.

The couple couldn't be reached for comment, but their attorney, Marshall Pitts, said they are staunch environmentalists who believe no plant in their yard should be sacrificed.

One sign posted on their property states, "God Does Not Grow Bad Things." Fliers at the end of the driveway state, "Plant native trees that rely on natural rain. You help our environment."

A dense stand of loblolly pines obscures much of the house from the road, and signs ordering visitors to stay out and notifying them of surveillance cameras give the property a foreboding appearance.

"The signs are an eyesore," neighbor Mary Pines said. "When they first started, I was, like, 'Well, if he wanted to be in a rural area, that's where he should have moved.'

"Most of the homes here are landscaped, and that's just out of context from where we live," Pines said.

Some neighbors in the Mintz Pond Estates subdivision began complaining to the city last summer that the yard is an eyesore and could hurt property values.

But at least one neighbor said the Fawkeses should be left alone.

"There are other things around here that hurt property values more than trees," resident Jim Crow said.


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  • Heelzrule Apr 17, 2007

    yep, City of Fayetteville - these trees are way more ugly and bothersome than the JUNK CARS in some folks' yards! my gracious - where are your priorities!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joy4u2 Apr 16, 2007

    A bunch of high turned up nose's and sticking them where they don't belong. Good thing it not my place I would be out there telling them, get your unhappy hind end back in your unhappy house and then I would probaly go to jail. But thats ok you all would come and get me out would you?

  • inquistitor Apr 16, 2007

    I highly doubt that the City of Fayetteville even consulted a biologist on the matter of the property. Perhaps a good lesson on the Carbon Cycle might change their mind, but then again they are politicians. Their jungle is a myriad of paperwork behind a desk made of solid wood.

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Apr 16, 2007

    IfByWhiskey – I had some vague memory of the “If By Whiskey” speech and I looked it up. I am impressed. You obviously have brains - a delightful contrast to a certain other forum member’s knee jerk temper and complete lack of manners. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_by_whiskey.

    Well thank you. I was just surfing around one day reading about logical fallacies and said to myself 'now that would be neat username', LOL.

    Carry on, people......

  • atmom Apr 16, 2007

    I am so tired of everyone trying to tell people what they can and can't do or have in THEIR yard. They aren't harming anyone....it is TREES!!! I am sooo glad I live out in the country.....400 feet off the road......with no one in sight! In order to have any personal rights that's about how you have to live now. People are getting SO out of hand with complaining all the time. If everyone would worry about themselves and not what the johnson's are doing next door this world would be soooooooooooooooo much better and peaceful!

  • taurus38 Apr 16, 2007

    any one else look at the video and notice that right after the "black" neighbor said the trees wer bringing down their property values the the "white" man in the truck gave his name as "Jim Crow" and said the trees were fine but other things were bringing property values down! talk about being racist, i am shocked thet wral.com let that video get past the editor or who ever let it go on the web site! also makes me wonder if that aired on tv?

  • Jugi Apr 15, 2007

    Do they want everything to look like a subdivision, with everything razed and a couple of tiny shrubs planted in front of the house?

  • wondermom67 Apr 15, 2007

    Well if the neighbors are going to pay the mortgage and property taxes for those people...then they have a right to say something about the property being an eyesore. Good grief people it is only trees...It is not over run with live stock, or dead animals. You must be very bored people if you have nothing else to do but complain aobut some stinking trees. You have no right to do that, nor does the city have the right to force them to cut down trees. These ppl may not have th money to do so, and by forcing them to cut the trees...they may have to choose between teh trees, and whether or not they are going to eat for the next several months and purchase their medication. My parents are on a fixed income, and they choose to have a tree cut down. 1 tree was $750. I bet if the situation were reversed and these ppl were going after the neighbors because there kids were being abusive and harressing them...those ppl would be miffed....worry aobut your own yards.

  • southern born Apr 15, 2007

    Well howdeee, old sothernborn had been to NYC some years back.Never seen so many rats in my life. Hope I never have to go back.But I do like all people and I surely don't want to give southerners a bad name. So maybe the sign should read (Welcome Yankees,if you find our way of life not to your standards,please don't buy here.) But please do stop by for some Southern Fried Chicken and Tators and then I can show you the I-85 North exit . And as for the reason some of you don't see Sotherners vacationing in other parts of the U.S. and world is----people like to go to a paradise , we southerners already live here. Ya'll Come Back Now!

  • lollly52 Apr 15, 2007

    IfByWhiskey – I had some vague memory of the “If By Whiskey” speech and I looked it up. I am impressed. You obviously have brains - a delightful contrast to a certain other forum member’s knee jerk temper and complete lack of manners.