Charlotte County residents dealing with overgrown vacant lots

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Charlotte County neighbors are no stranger to the sound of yard work.

Some, like homeowner Jim Chenard, hear it more often than others because they’re taking care of their own lawns, as well as the overgrown vacant lots next to them.

“I don’t like coming out of the house and seeing the mess,” Chenard said.

Chenard and his neighbor take turns picking up trash and mowing a buffer around the vacant corner lot.

“There’s a lot of rats in this neighborhood, and they come on your property, often try to get into your house and things like that,” Chenard said. “So if you can keep the brush cut down, it cuts down on that.”

Others, like homeowner Rick Bailey, said the wildly overgrown lots aren’t just an eyesore, they’re a safety concern.

“We have this big limb over my house right now and I got to keep trimming it back. if that falls, that’s our bedroom right there,” Bailey said. “If this comes down and we’re sleeping, my wife and I are dead.”

Bailey said it’s not fair he’s spending his own money to keep up someone else’s property.

“It’s over in my yard by like two feet and I got to wack it down and just keep throwing it back. i’m just trying to make my lawn and my house presentable,” Bailey said.

Despite the complaints, the county says there’s nothing they can do about it since there’s not ordinance that requires vacant lots to be maintained.

The only real option for homeowners to track down the owner of the empty lot to get it cleaned up is to file a civil suit.

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