Neighbors complain to city after empty neighborhood lot becomes dump site

Neighbors in a Gastonia community say there's an eyesore growing in the area they call home. They say all sorts of trash, overgrown weeds, and grass fill an empty lot that’s been there for years. On top of that, residents say people from outside their community are starting to come in and use their streets as a dump site. Those neighbors now telling us they are putting their foot down and want the city to take action.

Old toys, couch cushions, even an old door are dumped in the middle of a Gastonia neighborhood.

"We'll have people who don't live around here deposit their trash in the lot," said Clint Ceraso.

Ceraso lives a few doors down from this empty lot on Collinston Drive. He says after the city tore down a dilapidated house on the lot, the City of Gastonia didn't keep up the property.

"Clean up your own mess. Don't tax me for not cleaning up my mess when you don't clean up your own. That's what I have to say to the city," said Ceraso.

We did some digging and records show the city does not own the property. It's privately owned which means the upkeep falls back on the owner.

"It's a misconception that if the city demolishes property, that the city takes the property. We typically file a lien against the property," said Brian Pruett, Building Codes Administrator.

Pruett says if people have complaints to contact code enforcement.

"We go to the property, issue a notice of violation to the owner and they have 10-15 days to comply. If they don't comply, then we send private contractors out there to do the work and file a lien against the property," said Pruett.

We're told code enforcement will go to check out this lot for violations by the end of the week.

Last fiscal year, the city of Gastonia received more than 2,000 initial complaint calls about code violations. Their city ordinance requires grass to be no higher than 12 inches tall.

Here's the number for Gastonia Code Enforcement: 704-866-6760.