BRENTWOOD, N.H. - A New Hampshire homeowner is under court order to clean up his yard that's littered with thousands of boxes. If he doesn't, the town will do it for him and stick him with the bill.
Meanwhile, his neighbors are hoping their community will finally go back to normal.
Michael Bates found himself back in court after failing to clean up his property in Salem. The town estimates that there are some 2,000 boxes containing printers in his yard.
Bob Gaumond has lived in the neighborhood since 1960. He says the problem with Bates started about a year ago. "When he started dumping boxes there, I approached him. He said, 'These would be out of here in a week,'" Gaumond told WMUR.
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Instead, the pile grew, resulting in the town of Salem taking Bates to court. The town says the boxes are starting to decay. "Could be anything in there. Rats and, you know, all kinds of rodents and skunks could live there," said Brian Lockard, Salem's health officer.
As a result of the hearing, Bates has been given 10 days to clean up the property. If he fails to do it, the town has been granted the right to clean it up and stick Bates with the bill, estimated to be about $15,000 to $18,000.
Salem still has to decide if city crews will do the work themselves or hire a contractor. "We'll go back to town hall, meet with the town manager. Board of selectmen will have to give approval for the funding and decide which estimate we want to go with," said Lockard.
The town says that the mess will be gone within 60 days, and hopefully sooner.
For neighbors like Gaumond, it's been a frustrating year. "It's taking too long. Why should we have to put up with the dump?" said Gaumond.
As he left court, Bates said he couldn't say anything about the case.