Helping Reader Gets Cops Called on Us. Thanks.

What began as a good effort to help a reader, turned into the cops being called on us by an angry homeowner. Thanks, thanks a lot.

Never let it be said the Wake Forest News isn’t willing to take one for the Wake Forest team.

This story actually began the other day when a reader sent in a request through our Fix It Please page.

The reader wrote, “The unsightly junkyard on Chalks Road is an eyesore that does not adhere to the architectural standards of Wake Forest. I have to apply for a permit to have any storage building built to match my home in my fenced in backyard, but this eyesore is allowed to be exposed because it’s “grandfathered in”.

Apparently, they’ve been given leniency because when they cut Chalks Road expansion, it exposed their property – which they claim is a viable business (though it’s rare to see any items LEAVE the property – only enter the property).

I’ve exchanged multiple emails with the Town of Wake Forest in which I’ve been told that there at one time was a plan to create some “landscape screening” around the junkyard to make it less visible, but that it was not a budget priority in 2012. I touched base with them again in February and again this summer to inquire about plans to budget for it in 2013 – and now I can’t get anyone to respond to me at all. It continually falls on deaf ears.

I’m seeking help in pushing this through and having a fence or some sort of screening enforced to preserve the property values of surrounding neighborhoods. Not only is it an eyesore, but it’s a welcome mat for vagrants to hide in (as we’ve recently discovered).”

The property the reader wrote in about, from old Chalk Road.
The property the reader wrote in about, from old Chalk Road intersection.
Looking up Chalk Road towards the Cobble Hill Kennel (great place BTW)
Looking up the new Chalk Road towards the Cobble Hill Kennel (great place BTW)
The junkyard the reader wrote in about on Chalk Road.
The junkyard the reader wrote in about on Chalk Road.

So consider your request “pushed through.”

We went straight to the Town of Wake Forest for an answer. Bill Crabtree, the exceptionally talented and handsome (just sucking up at this point) public spokesperson for the town said, “The business in question is located outside the town’s corporate limits within Wake County’s jurisdiction. As a result, the town does not have any authority in this matter. In addition, there is insufficient space to plant trees or other vegetation in the street right-of-way and constructing a wall is not a viable option.”

He added, “We encourage the citizen to contact the Wake County Inspections Department at 919-856-6060.”

See big update to this story that explains why we crossed out the line above. Click here.

Low and behold, Bill is exactly correct, the junkyard property is not in the Town of Wake Forest.

You see when you look at the official boundaries of Wake Forest, as we’ve said before, it actually looks like the aftermath of a bad party night where someone threw up. Wake Forest does not have regular boundaries but instead all of these nooks and crannies and even parts that are orphaned and not attached.

Town of Wake Forest Map, - ralllphhh.
Town of Wake Forest Map, – ralllphhh.

Junkyard location.
Junkyard location.
So the junkyard property in question is actually located at the end of the arrow to the left. As you can see, while the Town of Wake Forest is all around the property in question, it does not actually incorporate it on that side of the road.

While we would have loved for this to be an easy fix the reality is it appears the Town of Wake Forest actually does not have the authority to do anything about it and the suggestion to call the Wake County Inspections Department is a good one.

Update October 14, 2013: While we thought this story had finally brought clarity to the situation, Wake County has responded to us and has tossed the ball back to the Town of Wake Forest due to something called the Wake Forest Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). You can lookup an address to confirm and learn more about any property by visiting this site.

Location of property in discussion.
Location of property in discussion.

At this point the only issue we are focusing on getting answers for is who promised to be responsible for screening when the road was widened and was a ball dropped. It appears homeowners and HOAs were promised one thing but another was delivered. That appears to be what has caused the angst for some.

So Let’s Bring in the Cop Part

We went over to the property to take pictures up and down the road simply in an effort to put the reader question into context for others.

We were out of the car standing on the old Chalk Road across two lanes of traffic from the property for about 20 seconds when someone came shouting out at us about taking pictures of “his” property. He refused to give us his name and pulled out his cell phone and allegedly called the police on us.

Dude allegedly calling cops on us.
Dude allegedly calling cops on us.

What should have been a one minute photo stop then turned into an hour of us calling the Wake County Sheriff and visiting the Wake Forest Police Department to make certain we had not violated the mans rights in any way. All clear said the police.

If you visit the property and take a picture watch out for anyone with four big red arrows hovering around them.

The tense situation eventually turned into a Wake Forest standoff, in other words, we all went our separate ways and no shots were fired. Sure wish we could have hugged it out though.

From the intensity of the interaction with the dude at the junkyard, who we will forever call Herman for no good reason, it seems like we might have not been the first person to take a picture.

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