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Junkyard’s friends replace trees

A small contingent of friends and neighbors showed up on the doorstep of Denver Blaylock’s junkyard in Cruso Saturday (Dec. 10) armed with shovels and donated hemlock trees.

They spent the day planting the trees alongside the junkyard to screen the sight from the road and hopefully bring the junkyard into compliance with the county’s junkyard ordinance.

“It was awesome. It made us feel great,” said Lisa Roberts, Blaylock’s girlfriend. “People were really working and digging and bringing equipment and donating trees and time and energy.”

Roberts said she barely knew some of the supporters who showed up to help.

Saturday marked the second time someone showed up at Blaylock’s junkyard with the mission of planting trees. Just three weeks ago, the county planted trees in the same spot, also intending to screen the sight of the junkyard. But the county-planted trees were cut down in the middle of the night.

Blaylock’s junkyard was then closed per court order until it came into compliance with the county’s ordinance. Steve Sorrells, a resident of Bethel who helped organize the tree planting, said the community values the junkyard and wants to see it reopen.

“I was impressed with all the people that came out and jumped in there to help. It was everybody saying, ‘We need to get this thing fixed’,” Sorrells said. “We need these types of businesses. We call them junkyards, but they are really recycling centers.”

Whether it’s salvaging spare parts or storing wrecked vehicles until their owner can pick them up, the junkyard plays an important role, Sorrells said. Sorrells also questioned the merit of the ordinance, however.

“You can put pink lipstick and blue eye shadow on a goat, but it still looks like goat,” Sorrells said.

Haywood County commissioners have been prodding Blaylock for seven years to come into compliance with the junk car ordinance, which calls for any collection of junk cars to be fenced and screened. Blaylock had planted some trees and put up some sections of fence along the way, but never met the requirements. After seven years and dozens of citations, personal visits, letters, and phone calls from deputies, the county planning office and county attorney, the county commissioners got fed up. Armed with a court order, they hired someone to install the rest of the fences, plant the rest of the trees and send Blaylock the bill.

After some of the newly planted trees were cut down, instead of replanting them and tacking it on to Blaylock’s mounting bill — nearly $25,000 — the county commissioners asked the sheriff to enforce a court order calling for the junkyard to be shut down until Blaylock meet the criteria of the ordinance.

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