Home / Government and politics / Gainesville Man’s Cluttered Yard Draws Complaints

Gainesville Man’s Cluttered Yard Draws Complaints

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Property, Gainesville, Code Enforcement
Cars, trailers and boxes of items Doug Englert has collected over the years clutter his front yard. Neighbors said it reduces the property value of their homes. (Mariana Riquezes/WUFT News)

Doug Englert is considered a hoarder by some of his neighbors, but he says the reason for his over-crowded house is because of the way he was raised.

“Ever since I was a small kid growing up in the country, we’ve been conscious about not having a lot of waste and that tends to make you hold on to things longer than a lot of people do,” Englert said. “This society we live in today throws away a lot of things, and I’ve just never been that way.”

Since 2006, neighbors have contacted the city’s code enforcement division due to the property’s poor condition.

Gainesville Code Enforcement has had to visit the property and file code violations at least eight separate times in the past 10 years, said Chris Cooper, code enforcement department head.

According to Cooper, Englert cleans up his front yard every time he receives a violation. However, his property shortly returns to the same cluttered state within a few months.

Because the home has not permanently changed after so many years, officials have decided to take a different approach.

“Instead of him being able to come into compliance before fines start accruing, we would actually take this case to our hearing officer, our special magistrate,” Cooper said. “If he was found guilty of having these violations of city ordinance, the fines would actually start accruing from the date we actually cited for the violation.”

Boxes of items that Doug Englert has collected over the years are piled high in his front yard. (Mariana Riquezes/WUFT News)
Boxes of items that Doug Englert has collected over the years are piled high in his front yard. (Mariana Riquezes/WUFT News)

Englert said he was planning on having his property in better condition by the end of the summer, but due to several surgeries he had to undergo and his daughter’s wedding, he never had the time.

He expects to have his property cleaned by January.

“I’ve set it at the top of my priority list to make a difference and to make it look nice when you drive by,” Englert said.

However, one neighbor says it is the “same old song and dance.”

“If you see something that progressively gets worse even after somebody has been told about it, that gives me the indication that it’s not going to change and it’s going to get worse,”  neighbor Ray Locklear said.

Locklear said Englert is a very friendly guy with whom he has gone fishing many times in Cedar Key.

Nonetheless, his neighbor’s home bothers him because it diminishes his own property’s resale value, Locklear said.

“If I did decide to sell, I don’t think I’d be able to,” he said.

Another neighbor, Doug Cox, is also concerned with the property’s condition.

Cox said he and his neighbors have three concerns – the increased number of mosquitoes the property might have brought, property values decreasing and how the over-crowded property is a fire hazard.

Although Englert’s home has resulted in some neighbors to consider moving elsewhere, Cox said he has learned to just live with it.

“I don’t have any intent to move,” he said. “I like the neighborhood and it’s not going to be enough to make me move.”

About Mariana Riquezes

Mariana is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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