Newark, Del. residents targeted for tickets

July 28, 2008 4:38:29 PM PDT
Most Newark, Delaware residents thought they were keeping their yards tidy enough, until New Castle County started enforcing an instant ticketing program earlier this month. Violations include overgrown grass and illegal parked vehicles. Doug Green got a $50 ticket for the wildflowers growing along his fence. "I feel like I'm being harassed. They've been out here three times this month," Green says.

"It's harassement," declares Jeff Duff of Newark. "Once they come out once, the guy just keeps coming back and if he doesn't get you on your truck, he'll get you on something else. It's ridiculous!"

Duff suspects a competing landscaper complained about his business truck being illegally parked. Then there's Barry Adams. He says a code enforcer who he's had disagreements with in the past fined him for an overgrown tree, even though a neighbor across the street with an overgrown bush was not cited at all. Adams worries, saying pine trees should only be trimmed in the fall.

"I complied and did as they said so now I'm expecting my trees to perish."

Victor Enos worries his business will perish now. A code enforcer cited him for an illegally parked boat and grass that was growing around it. Enos paid the fines only to be told the lettering on his business vehicles has to go, too.

"I've got over $6000 worth of lettering on these vehicles. Some of it is gold leaf. It's not just going to come off." Residents question the fairness of New Castle County code enforcers, wondering why some homeowners appear to be picked on while other simply aren't.

County spokesman Mark Veasey says homeowners should get a courtesy letter before ever being fined. He also says instant tickets can be challeneged. As for overzealous code enforcers, Veasey says, "If anyone has concerns about the conduct of any of our officers, they should let us know by giving us a call or sending a letter and we'll do an investigation."

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