Local News

Nature or Nuisance? Neighbors Fight Over Tree-Filled Yard

Posted April 13, 2007 7:37 p.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2007 8:02 p.m. EDT

— 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.