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‘I apologize, we’ll do better’: Decatur homeowner responds to complaints of junk-filled yard

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JUNK HOUSE WEB

House on Douthit St SW in Decatur

One Decatur homeowner is heading to court for her junk-filled property after the city received multiple complaints from neighbors. 

The Decatur City Clerk's Office confirmed Robin Waldrep was cited for a violation of the city’s weed, junk, and litter ordinance. 

They tell 鶹app the charges are on the grounds that the accused allowed the accumulation of litter on her property on Douthit Street. 

Josh Sloan with the Community Development Division in Decatur says because of the overwhelming amount of junk, they gave the homeowner 14 days to clean up the yard. 

Sloan says they gave two extensions before he says the cleanup process came to a halt, causing Waldrep to be cited.

Due to the ongoing complaints from residents in Decatur, Sloan says Waldrep’s original court date was expedited, moving it up from April to March.

Many neighbors like Jerita Coffey called the property an eyesore, saying it's making the entire neighborhood look bad. 

“If you look at the rest of the people in the neighborhood, none of those houses look like that,” Coffey said. “There’s not all that stuff out in the front. In the backyard it’s fine because it’s not directly where you can see it if you’re driving by or walking by.”  

But Coffey says it's not just the junk she has to worry about. 

Coffey claims there's constantly something burning at the residence, raising concern for her health and the children of the neighborhood.

“My main concern is the burning,” Coffey continued. “I have chronic asthma and there’s a lot of children in this neighborhood. I know secondhand smoke is bad for you, but we don’t know what’s being burned over there.”  

But Robin Waldrep tells 鶹app, as a mother with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she would never purposefully burn something that would cause harm to anyone. 

Waldrep says she’s lived in her home for 19 years and says her front lawn didn’t always look how it does now. 

She says she and her boyfriend Corey Griffitt lost their jobs during COVID and began scraping to get by.

She says neighbors began dropping their unwanted items off at their home. 

“We scrap for a living, we also deliver, so people come over here, they give us medals to take to the recycling company or they stop us as we’re going down the road to recycle for them,” Waldrep said. 

The couple says some of the neighbors who complain about their yard are the ones who've used their services and asked for help in the past. 

But Waldrep says no one from her neighborhood communicated to her that her yard was so much of a problem. 

“They could’ve came to me and talked to me and it wouldn’t have had to go this far at all,” Waldrep said. 

She told 鶹app she never meant to cause anyone any distress.

“We are trying to get everything cleaned up, I apologize to all the neighbors for the mess," Waldrep continued. "Just bear with us and we’ll get it all cleaned up.” 

The Community Development Division says taking people to court is the last resort for them. 

They hope once Waldrep gets in front of a judge, they will come to an agreement to clean up the yard. 

If Waldrep violates the agreement set by a judge in March, it would be considered a misdemeanor which could mean jail time and/or fines up to $500. 

But Waldrep doesn’t believe it'll come to that.

“I’m not just cleaning up before the court date, I’m cleaning up because that’s not how I live, you know I’m not used to this,” Waldrep said.

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