5 On Your Side

Spring Hope Woman Calls Five On Your Side About Ordinance Enforcement

Posted July 14, 2005 12:15 p.m. EDT

— When you move into a neighborhood, what you see is what you get. Usually, ordinances are in place to keep it that way, but an ordinance does not work unless it is enforced, as one woman found out.

Dawn Kempf moved to Spring Hope with her husband to retire. They live in a historic district filled with 100-year-old homes, but a house is not the problem.

It is what Kempf sees out the front window that upsets her -- stacks of wooden boxes, rows of equipment and a forklift are just some of what is stored on a residential lot across the street.

The materials all belong to Strickland Industries, which sits next to the lot, but the equipment violates a town ordinance that said outdoor storage yards are not allowed on residential property. Kempf said she cannot get anyone to enforce the law.

"I guess I was naive. I thought if you went to town hall and pointed something out, they would help you instead of coming up with every excuse in the world," Kempf said.

Town leaders apparently realize Kempf's frustration, but also know Strickland Industries needs more space. So in June, Town Manager Dia Denton offered a possible solution. She suggested the town close the road next to his business, so that he can expand and use the area to store at least some of the equipment that is now on the lot.

However, Kempf said that violates another ordinance that does not allow Strickland to expand.

"Shouldn't our town manager realize that she's not enforcing our ordinances with her suggestion -- if you're not allowed to expand, how can you give them more room to work?" she said.

Kempf called Five on Your Side, who contacted Dia Denton. She then sent a letter to Strickland Industries. The letter said the company has 15 days to get the equipment off the lot. Strickland Industries started clearing the lot immediately. Kempf said it is at least a start.

"It will be resolved when it's gone and not put back on," Kempf said.

The vice-president of Strickland Industries told Five On Your Side that she thought the company was grandfathered in and could use the residential lot. In fact, she is appealing the issue with the town. For now, the company bought commercial land down the street and completely cleared the lot across from Kempf.