Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tree top toilets cause problems for residents

Some describe the small town of Austin, Arkansas, as the perfect place to live, but recently, a few unwanted decorations are making one neighbourhood the last place anyone wants to move to. Homes in the Shadow Creek Subdivision in Austin range in price from $150,000 to $300,000. It's a quiet, new development, but over the last few months a rather bold display is stirring a lot of conversation. "A lot of questions, people wanting to know what's going on. Initial reaction was it was kind of funny. They've been up there since about the middle of March," said one Shadow Creek neighbour, Anthony Fible.

Two toilets and a few spray painted signs promising that a trailer park is coming to the area soon hang high above the fence line at the end of Hudson Branch Drive in Austin. "We are hoping it hasn't affected the property values, but we know for sure it's affected some sales," said Fible. Anthony Fible said the display has drawn a lot of attention, and since there is no trailer park coming soon, neighbours and potential buyers in the new development are puzzled. "We haven't had any trouble from the individual. He hasn't caused any other problems. He hasn't said or made any kind of threatening statements. We don't even know who he is. We just know it's an individual living on the property behind me, and he's posted the signs," explained Fible.

"Who is going to buy a house where you see signs about a trailer park coming soon? It borderlines harassment. However, if you own property you can do with the property as you please," said Lonoke County Sheriff John Stoley. Stoley said it all started with a disagreement between a property owner and the developer building homes adjacent to his land. What exactly upset the property owner is still a mystery, but in March, he placed two toilets on two approximately 20-foot poles and nailed spray-painted signs to his trees facing the developer's property with the words "Trailer Park Coming Soon." Though neighbours claim they can't sell their homes due to the unattractive new displays, toilets in trees are not illegal.

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"This is the city limits here. Where the signs are is in the county, and there is no ordinances prohibiting signs in the county on a property. It's not threatening. It's nothing criminal at this time," Stoley stated. "It's petty. Whatever his argument is with one individual or the property developer, he can take it up with that individual. Affecting the neighbours that haven't done anything to him, we would just appreciate it if he would take the signs down," added Fible. The man who allegedly posted the signs and the toilets, identified as Dennis, did not wish to speak. As for the developer, Moore & Moore, they also did not wish to comment due to ongoing litigation with the property owner. The Lonoke County Sheriff's Office said they have asked the property owner to take down the signs and toilets, but he refused.

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