Man complains about neighbor’s trash for five years, city seeks new ordinance

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SOPHIA, WV (WVNS) — A Sophia man claims his neighbor’s trash-filled property is diminishing the value of his home, but city and county administrators said their hands are tied.

Jim Boyd said the house across the street is littered with old mattresses, garbage, rodents, and sometimes even human waste.

“It’s not fair to me, our neighbors, anyone in the city, or anyone in the state that we keep our property looking nice, keep our trash taken away, keep our utilities on, and this guy just refuses to do it,” Boyd said.

Since 2014, Jim Boyd has tried to get his neighbor’s property cleaned. He claimed a Raleigh Assessor’s Office worker told him the neighbor’s property was devaluing their home by at least $10,000.

The owner was not home when 59 News went to checked out the property.

The county requires homeowners to have trash service, but Boyd said county officials told him they do not have jurisdiction. He took the issue all the way up to the Governor’s office to no avail.

“There’s no reason that anybody in this great state has to live beside an issue like this, which is a health issue as well as an eyesore,” said Boyd.

It also violates city code, which prohibits any accumulation of garbage. Mayor of Sophia, Danny Barr, said he tried everything, even sending city workers to clean it themselves.

“You can’t fine someone that don’t have any money and there’s no jail time for what’s happening here,” said Barr. “So what can you do?”

That is why Barr wants the state to approve a ‘home rule’ ordinance, so they can write the owner a ticket for each day the mess is not cleaned.

Boyd said he just wants the owner to be held accountable.

“No one should have to put up with that stuff,” said Boyd.

Boyd Brought the issue to a Raleigh County Commission Meeting Tuesday, October 15, 2019. Commissioners told Boyd someone from the county health department will assess the property for violations.

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