City gives homeowner 10 days to remove thousands of boxes from yard

City gives homeowner 10 days to remove thousands of boxes from yard

BRENTWOOD, NH (WMUR/CNN) - 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, MA.

The town estimates that there are some 2,000 boxes containing printers in the yard.

The town of Salem will remove the boxes and bill Michael Bates if he doesn’t address the problem.
The town of Salem will remove the boxes and bill Michael Bates if he doesn’t address the problem. (Source: WMUR/CNN)

Bob Gaumond, who’s lived in the neighborhood since 1960, said the problem with Bates started about a year ago.

"When he started dumping boxes there, I approached him,” Gaumond said. “He said these would be out of here in a week."

Instead the pile grew, resulting in the town of Salem taking Bates to court.

The town said 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, the town of 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 they will do the work themselves or hire a contractor.

“We’ll go back to town hall and meet with the town manager,” Lockard said. "Board of Selectmen will have to give approval for the funding and decide which estimate we want to go with.”

The town said that the mess will be gone within 60 days, and hopefully sooner.

But for neighbors like Gaumond it's been a frustrating year.

"It's taking too long,” said Gaumond. “Why should we have to put up with the dump?"

As he left court, Bates declined to comment on the situation.

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