Brewery Lane homes cause concern

Owner says he should be able to park at least his car on his property
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Residents in an Old Town Auburn neighborhood expressed concerns and thankfulness regarding two properties on their street after anonymous complaints were sent to the city. The homeowners of both say they are aware of the issues and looking at solutions. The city of Auburn received two anonymous letters about a month ago concerning three areas on Brewery Lane, including 126 and 135 Brewery. The Journal received an anonymous letter about the same properties. The letter states that 126 Brewery has commercial shipping containers, abandoned vehicles, a boat and several camper shells in its front yard. The letter also expresses concerns about a large blackberry bush across the street. The letter mentions the front yard of 135 Brewery that is “generally littered with discarded items.” The letter speaks of a concern that the blackberry bush could be a fire hazard for Old Town. Will Wong, director of Auburn’s Community Development Department, said the city’s code enforcement officer has looked into each issue. “The toughest problem is they are anonymous complaints to us to begin with,” Wong said. “We can’t even respond back to them to tell them what we have done. The bramble … which is the blackberry (bush), is not a fire problem. They are green brambles. So, what you have is a complaint about blackberries. It’s like any complaint about landscaping.” Wong said there is nothing the city can do about the bush because it is not a potential hazard. “Code enforcement can’t go after someone’s vegetations and then there are also issues about clearing blackberries in wetlands,” he said. Wong said both of the other properties have been notified, and one has already complied with the city’s clean-up request. The city sent a letter to 126 Brewery Wednesday, and the owner has 30 days to comply with the request. The Journal discovered Thursday that the lot next to 126 Brewery has trucks, a van, a car, two storage containers and other items sitting to the side of the house. Brewery Lane resident Stan Brodeur said, because he lives up the street from the homes, he is not greatly impacted, but he does consider it an issue when things are left in yards. “In respect to the house with the stuff on the side of the road, that is constantly an eyesore,” Brodeur said. “That looks horrible. That just looks like a warehouse district down there.” Brodeur, who lives near a home that is currently for sale, said he thinks messy yards might dissuade someone from buying a house there. “I think anyone who looks around would tuck that in the back of their minds,” Brodeur said. Brodeur said he is glad letters have gone out to the two properties and that the city is doing what it can to clean them up. “Beautiful,” Brodeur said. “I think it’s an excellent thing to make sure we take pride of the houses we live in. I’m very glad they have done that.” Brewery Lane resident Leticia Aceves said she is glad the city issued the letters. “It’s nice,” she said. “We are in Old Town so we have to be a little bit clean. Sometimes it’s hard when people are working, but at least try to put your stuff away.” A couple of neighbors on the street expressed concerns about drug activity possibly connected to one of the homes. Capt. John Ruffcorn, of the Auburn Police Department, said two arrests were made recently at one of the houses, but he refused to say which one. On March 30 someone was arrested for being under the influence of methamphetamine, possessing several hypodermic needles and bags of methamphetamine. On April 4 someone was arrested for a parole warrant, Ruffcorn said. Owners of both homes, who do not live on the properties, said they had not heard of any drug activity connected to their respective houses. Thelma Dunn owns the house at 135 Brewery and said her daughter is currently living there. Dunn said her daughter’s shed was leaking and the items had to be stored in the front yard before they could be taken away. “She tries to keep it cleaned up the best she can,” Dunn said. “She isn’t very well. Those that harp all the time, it’s just getting to be monotonous. They see her put it out to get it hauled off and then they start hollering before they get it hauled off.” Dunn said sometimes her daughter has yard sales and people leave things in the front of her yard that she has to throw away, but she doesn’t have a working vehicle currently, so it’s hard for her to do that. Richard Yue is the owner of 126 Brewery. Yue said the house’s current renters could be moving out in May. “The storage units, we got approval on those guys, and that is actually a separate lot,” Yue said. “That is my property of course. There is one vehicle there that belongs to me – it’s my big red van. As far as the yard (of the house) goes, (my renter) used to keep the yard up really well.” Yue said the rest of the vehicles in the lot next to the house belong to family members or family friends, and since he hadn’t received the city’s letter by Friday morning, he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do with them. “It would seem that I could probably park at least my own car on my property,” he said. In a trip to 126 Brewery, the Journal noticed that yard maintenance had not been kept up because of bad weather and a number of cats are roaming through the area to the side of the home. Yue said he expects his tenant to take care of the yard before he moves and Yue plans to have the cats trapped and taken away. “I told them I didn’t want them (there),” Yue said. “I thought they were a health nuisance myself. I tried to trap them.” Reach Bridget Jones at