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Oxford Cracks Down On Cluttered Yards

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OXFORD, N.C. — Town officials in Oxford are taking action against houses that they consider eyesores.

Mattie McDowell hates the view from her front porch. Just beyond her neatly manicured front yard, she sees what she considers an eyesore.

"If they want to be proud of our town, they should keep it clean," she said.

McDowell's complaint is a common one in Oxford. From household appliances to living room furniture, you can find just about anything stored in some yards in Oxford.

"Old cars, junk cars, whatever -- people don't need to throw it in the yard," McDowell said.

To combat the problem, the city has decided to enforce a visual blight ordinance, which cracks down on the clutter. The ordinance, that was actually proposed by a group of homeowners, targets not only front porches, but anything that can be seen from the front yard.

Oxford Planning Director Cheryl Hart's job is to enforce the new ordinance, which goes into effect August 1. Homeowners will have one month to clean up their act. After that, they will be fined $50 a day until the trash is removed.

"It is a big problem if you have unhappy citizens," Hart said.

So far, Hart has not gotten any complaints about the new policy and she does not expect to hand out many fines. The fine for violating the visual blight ordinance cannot exceed $500.


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