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County suing Snow Camp homeowner over ‘putrid’ yard waste

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Alamance County’s attorney has filed a lawsuit in civil superior court against Forrest Michael Shadle, who owns property at 2953 Quakenbush Road, Snow Camp, for allowing garbage and other debris to pile up in his yard for more than a year.

Those conditions, according to the county’s suit, violate a solid waste ordinance that prohibits “the storage, accumulation, and disposal of garbage and solid waste…that is not properly disposed of or properly stored.”

Alamance County’s environmental health department sent a letter notifying Shadle of the violation on   February 15, 2023, the complaint states.  The notice of violation required Shadle “to remove the piles of household trash and other debris being stored on his property by properly discarding it at an approved landfill” by March 17, 2023.

The environmental health department mailed Shadle a second notice of the violation on May 5, 2023, instructing him to remove the waste from the yard by June 5 of last year.  The county attorney’s office sent the property a final notice of the violation of improper storage and disposal of trash on the property on February 6, 2024.

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“Observations of county staff on February 21, 2024 indicate that household trash and other refuse have continued to be added to the existing solid waste pile located on [Shadle’s] property since the initial inspections in 2023,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit that the county attorney’s office filed in superior court last Monday states, “Due to its extensive size and putrid nature, nearby neighbors have recently complained to the county that the trash could be smelled [from a quarter of a] mile away.”

The county contends that, despite multiple warnings, Shadle “has failed and refused to correct the violations and, in fact, the solid waste pile has continued to increase in size over the past year.”

The county contends that the collection of solid waste in Shadle’s yard endangers the health and safety of occupants in his own home, as well as that of neighboring residents.

The county is asking a superior court judge to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction to force Shadle to remove the garbage from his yard within 30 days of the entry of a judge’s order.

The county is also asking that, in the event that Shadle refuses to clean up his property within 30 days of an injunction, a judge authorize county staff to enter the property and to take any actions deemed necessary.  The county would also place a lien against the property to recover any of its costs for bringing Shadle into compliance with the solid waste ordinance.

A photo of the property that is included in the court file shows part of an old, soiled couch, as well as numerous garbage bags and loose trash, strewn about the yard at what appears to be the front of a modest one-story home.

Alamance County attorney Rik Stevens is representing the county for its suit.  Shadle had not filed a response by press time.

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