Judge permits injunction against Newborn nuisance

NEWBORN - Superior Court Judge Eugene Benton put a halt Monday to commercial activity and storage on a residential property in Newborn that appears to be illegally operating as a business.

The Newborn mayor and council recently filed a complaint for abatement of nuisance against Shirley, John and Leah Davis of 123 N. Porter St., property that is located in a residential district.

According to Newborn Attorney Joe Reitman, the family was operating a business akin to a mechanics shop or garage, which is prohibited under the residential zoning and without a business license.

There was also evidence of a sandblasting operation, with regular use of air tools and the noise of an air compressor, along with extensive storage of junk motor vehicles and automobile parts, Reitman said.

In the complaint, the town requested a 30-day temporary restraining order to stop operations. But after the Davises did not file a response, Reitman asked for an interlocutory injunction.

At a hearing Monday morning, Benton granted the injunction, ordering a cease and desist of all commercial or outdoor home business activities; storage of junk automobiles, trucks, boats, motorcycles and other debris; sand blasting; unreasonably loud outdoor mechanical work; use of an accessory building as living quarters; the construction of a second unauthorized accessory building; unreasonably loud automotive and motorcycle exhaust noise at various hours; loud music, loud talking and loud cursing at various hours; and the practice of parking more than one commercial vehicle in the yard at a time.

The injunction can remain in place indefinitely until the case is resolved, Reitman said.

Reitman said the resolution will likely come by consent order since the Davises are cooperating, having cleaned some of the property since the complaint was filed.

The property is owned by Shirley Davis. Her son, John Davis, said he no longer lives on the premises, but he worries that he will be held liable if his two brothers continue to work on the property.

"If you don't do the work, you can't get in trouble. The mom's got more liability than anybody," Benton said.

"You own the house and if all that's going on, you're going to have a hard time saying, 'I can't control it,'" he told Shirley Davis.

Benton asked the parties to talk and reach a final resolution on the issue, but until then, "(the injunction) will function as an almost permanent solution," Reitman said. "All we want is for the law to be upheld. We're not looking to punish anyone."

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.