Junkyard Dispute Leaves Miami Powerless

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MIAMI - Residents in Miami are fed up with one family who they claim is running an illegal salvage yard. Miami, which does not support a police department, has been unable to enforce town ordinances that force the resident to clean up.

John Bakert, the mayor of Miami, said he has reached out for help, to no avail. First the city council informed the family that they had 30 days to deal with the junk in front of their yard. The residents did nothing, so Bakert contacted the Saline County Sheriff's department, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, but have not heard any response yet.

"The prosecuting attorney informed me the Saline County Sheriff's Department had to do paperwork before we could do anything," Bakert said. "It's been a while but they haven't gotten past the paperwork."

Bakert said the people who live there are not only causing visual pollution, but are also running an illegal salvage yard. He said he can smell burnt rubber and plastics late at night sometimes. However, no one has been able to catch the property owners in the act.

The alleged salvage yard is next door to the community center, where residents host wedding receptions, family reunions, and where children play basketball and tennis. Not only do residents dislike how it looks for their events, they are also concerned that the pollution  affects their children. Tammy Wilson is a mother and grandmother who said she doesn't like the idea of children playing on that side of town.

Residents are also concerned about how the eyesore will affect their property value. Wilson's son and step-daughter own a home across the street. They fixed up their home to sell it, but gave up after they couldn't attract a buyer.

"No one wants to look off of their balcony and see a view of that," Wilson said. In addition, she says she is worried that any more complaints will only make things worse." The more we seem to complain, the more they will make a mess of it. I'm sick of it."

KOMU tried to talk to the residents who own the property, but they were not home. A few neighbors defended the family but refused to talk on camera.