SALEM, NH (CBS) – What a mess. A backyard in a quiet neighborhood in Salem, NH is littered with stacks of cardboard boxes, and neighbors have had enough. The town has been battling the homeowner for a year, and the conflict may soon be settled in court.

“This is horrible,” says neighbor Maryann Schwarzenberg.

“Neighbors have seen rats. My husband has heard movements,” says Nicole Callahan who lives next door to the eyesore.

“I’d describe it as a mess,” adds neighbor John Manning.

That’s an understatement. From the front it looks like a nice house on Maclarnon Rd. In back, boxes and boxes and boxes of computer printers.

Computer printer boxes stacked behind Salem, NH house (WBZ-TV)

“My understanding from the owner of the property is that it was some type of recycling operation, and the market for that type of recycling has dissipated and he was unable to move the product,” says Salem Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Emanuelson, who heads the town’s Inspectional Services Dept.

“Certainly what he was doing with the property was not in compliance with any local code or zoning,” he adds.

The house is owned by Michael Bates, who neighbors say has moved out. He actually got rid of some of the debris. It used to be even worse.

But the town says he’s stopped cooperating despite being ordered to comply. “His willingness to work with us or his responsiveness to work with us really ceased last summer,” says Chief Emanuelson.

Computer printer boxes stacked behind Salem, NH house (WBZ-TV)

Neighbors have complained, loudly, for a year. Nicole Callahan lives next door. “It’s gross to look at every morning when I wake up, and even when I have the kids out, it’s awful,” she says.

John Manning also lives in the neighborhood. “He should clean it up, and if he doesn’t, he should be fined per day until it is cleaned up,” he says.

The case is now in the hands of the Rockingham Superior Court. The next hearing on the problem is April 15th. The court could fine the owner or even throw him in jail. In the meantime, neighbors just want the mess to go away.

Comments (3)