JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The I-TEAM is uncovering how one Arlington neighborhood has dealt with what seemed like a never-ending trash problem. For years, their neighbor has stockpiled mounds of trash in the front yard. The I-TEAM discovered this case is just one of thousands like it that the city of Jacksonville deals with each year.
Photos show the piles of trash outside the home, which are often changing. Over time, neighbors have seen tires, lawn chairs, bags of trash, a headboard, cardboard and even a toilet.
"You can see where the dirt is plowed there, she will have it completely covered," said one neighbor, describing the conditions outside the home.
Since 2007, city code enforcement workers have addressed 19 complaints at this one home. While it's clean now, neighbors expect the piles of trash will be back.
"To me, it creates one heck of an eyesore," the neighbor said.
The latest complaint about trash stockpiled at the home was filed in April. The homeowners recently cleared the pile, just before the city planned to clear it for them.
The I-TEAM discovered that the city has addressed 34,310 code enforcement complaints during the current fiscal year, which started Oct. 1. More than half of those -- or 17,664 complaints -- are general nuisance issues dealing with overgrowth and trash. City officials said they will first cite the owner and give them 15 days to correct the issue.
"Our goal is compliance, preferably by the owner," said Bryan Mosier, acting director of the city's Neighborhoods Department. "We don't want to have to send it to the contractor and put a lien on the property, but if they don't comply, that's what we do."
If the city sends out a contractor, that comes at a cost to taxpayers, until the homeowner pays off the lien. That cost can vary, based on the issue.
"Really depends on how bad the situation is. If it's too bad we bid it out, and whatever those bids are, we have to take," Mosier said.
At the home in Arlington, the dirt underneath what's usually a trash pile is showing for the first time in a while.
"It's been a recurring issue of late, but we have it handled for now," Mosier said.
If there's an eyesore in your neighborhood, with piles of trash, debris, or junk appliances, you can report it to the city by calling 630-CITY (2489) or online at https://630city.coj.net. That will trigger the city to make a visit to the property and cite the owner if there is a violation. The owners will have 15 days to fix it before the city takes further action.