Local News

Upset with town, Cary man spray-paints own home

Posted August 3, 2009
Updated August 5, 2009

— A Cary man says he has been done wrong by the town, and he wants everyone who drives by his house to know it.

David Bowden spray-painted his message – with words that some might find offensive – on the front of his 305 SW Maynard Road home last week.

"It's been cleaned up a lot," Bowden said. "That's not what was planned to go up there."

He claims a recent widening project on Maynard Road has left his once-arboreal yard void of trees and with a steep slope that funnels rain water into his home.

Bowden, who's lived in the house since 1992, says he has complained for a year now to the town about water damage underneath his house but was told the drainage issue is with his gutters.

"You don't have to be an electrical engineer or a construction engineer to know water runs downhill," he said.

Cary mans turns beef with town into house 'billboard' Cary mans turns beef with town into house 'billboard'

Assistant Town Manager Mike Bajorek says he understands Bowden's frustration but says it's also frustrating for the town.

"We have gone to him and said we have a design that would help resolve (the drainage issue)," Bajorek said. "He said, 'No, stay off my property. I want you to buy my house.'"

Bajorek said the town has purchased houses with drainage problems when there was no possible solution but that it is not willing, at this point, to spend tax money to buy the house.

Bowden told the town that the drainage issue was a problem for years before the widening project when the state Department of Transportation put an overlay on Maynard Road, Bajorek said.

"We have been working on this project for several years," he said. "We have a fix in place. We’re just waiting for Mr. Bowden to give us the go ahead to install that."

Meanwhile, the town could cite Bowden for being in violation of the town sign ordinance. He faces fines for each day the message remains on his house – $100 for the first day, $250 for the second and $500 for each day afterward.

"Here in Cary, we welcome our citizens to get involved to express their opinions, but we have community values and standards that we need to uphold," Bajorek said. "Making your home a billboard is not one of those standards."

"It is a frustrating thing that a citizen would go paint their home like that without really giving us a chance to resolve the situation," he added.

Bowden said he refuses to remove the message.

“The sign will come down when (the town) buys my house," Bowden said. "If the sign comes down, the attention’s gone.”


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  • shortcake53 Aug 4, 2009

    The ACLU in Raleigh is now helping this guy out. They said his freedom of speech is being violated and is talking with the Town of Cary about it.

  • Alexia.1 Aug 4, 2009

    I agree with JennyT. Just looking at the two photos (present and before the widening), I can see a house I might consider buying and one I would not. The present house looks like it's down in a hole. And, yeah, a "fix" will not fix his property value loss.

    I think the paint on the house is reasonable. He is rightfully angry. What is unreasonable is declaring it a "sign" and declaring it to be in violation of some silly city ordinance. Does the man not have freedom of speech?

  • LambeauSouth Aug 4, 2009

    He's on g105 right now with a PR lady from the town of cary.

    anyone here what was said, I know the Mayor was to be on but did not return any calls.

  • IzzMad2016 Aug 4, 2009

    That photo is dated 1995, 14 years ago. I noticed his house a while back when I was driving on Maynard. I thought he was getting ready to have the house painted since the shutters were off and the exterior was especially grungy where they'd been hanging. Now I wonder if he wasn't just letting it look run down and in order to boost his claims that the road widening ruined his house. He complained to TOC about draining, they offered to fix it. He said no. He gets what he gets, I reckon. Nothing against the man, really....but his side just doesn't seem totally on the up and up to me. I think he just wants to be rid of his house and thinks he can shame TOC into buying it. IMHO

  • JennyT Aug 4, 2009

    Thanks to questionwhy:


  • JennyT Aug 4, 2009

    I believe Mr. Bowden's issue is that the town bought out two other homeowners on the street, but they refuse to buy him out. From the tax photos before the road widening, you can see they have ruined his property and completely killed his property value. IMHO, the city should buy him out. A "fix" is not fair.

  • IzzMad2016 Aug 4, 2009

    "We have gone to him and said we have a design that would help resolve (the drainage issue)," Bajorek said. "He said, 'No, stay off my property. I want you to buy my house."

    Well there you have it. The rest of the story. Apparently his goal isn't to get any drainage issues fixed at Cary's expense, his goal is to force them to buy his house because it would probably take months for him to sell it himself in today's slow housing market. Kind of sheister-like, IMHO.

  • whatusay Aug 4, 2009

    Cary has admitted that the city caused the drainage problem. If buying the house is the solution then buy the house. It seems that Cary has made it improbable that anyone else would buy the house with such a problem with water and drainage, all created by the city of Cary.

  • Iceman Aug 4, 2009

    He's on g105 right now with a PR lady from the town of cary.

  • Milkman Aug 4, 2009

    Yesterday this story said that the Town of Cary said his drainage issues were his own gutter problems, and now the town says "we offered to fix this but he said no" -- why the change Cary? Don't like this attention do you?

    And yesterday the story didn't say that he was in violation of the sign ordinance, but Cary got on the stick and filed that charge ASAP.

    We don't know the whole story, but this guy should let the town do what they now say they're willing to do (and they only got willing since he painted his house!) and if that doesn't fix it, then they should agree up front, right now, to buy the house from him for tax value.