Too often, personal pride, responsibility are not enough
"What we got in our yard is our business," Walter Youngblood of Lacey's Spring told The Daily in reference to a growing controversy over what some consider eyesores in the northeast Morgan County community.
While Mr. Youngblood has a point, critics of junked vehicles and other unsightly debris on private property also have a valid claim: Such eyesores have a detrimental effect on nearby property values and can be harmful to neighbors' health.
Aesthetic concerns aside, junked vehicles and overgrown yards tend to attract varmints that do not recognize property boundaries. Unattended swimming pools become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests that migrate to neighbors' yards. Cars can leak antifreeze, oil and other pollutants that seep into groundwater and contaminate wells, the Tennessee River and tributaries.
Action is called for when one man's yard becomes a threat to his neighbors' health, safety and welfare.
Someone must draw the line. The question becomes where to draw it. Must regulation begin at health hazards or should it also include aesthetic concerns, which affect neighbors' financial interests?
In a perfect world, personal pride and responsibility would motivate landowners to maintain their property. Driving the roads in Lacey's Spring, it becomes apparent this is not a perfect world.