Zuni couple unhappy about junk on farm

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, July 27, 2011

COURTLAND—A farm, by nature, can accumulate junk equipment.

But Sammy and Amy Carr claim their neighbor has gone too far.

“I have called and asked for a reassessment,” Amy Carr told the Southampton County Board of Supervisors during their Monday night meeting. “A real estate agent and people say (my property has been) devalued.”

The Carrs have lived next door to farmer Thurman Munford on One Mile Road in Zuni for 36 years. A retired Virginia State Police sergeant, Sammy Carr told supervisors there are several inoperable vehicles on Munford’s property, including school buses and an ambulance, animal carcasses, head-tall weeds and empty beer cans.

Amy Carr, who is not the Amy Carr that serves as Southampton County Commissioner of Revenue, showed supervisors a photo of their home, which appears immaculate.

“I think of my home as a refuge from the world,” she said. “It’s a place of love and warmth for my family. That feeling is taken away from the junk.”

Beth Lewis, the county’s director of Community Development, said after the meeting there is a county ordinance that prohibits inoperable vehicles, junk and debris. However, a state law prohibits any ordinance that makes any farming operation a nuisance.

There may be a conflict within ordinances and referred questions to County Attorney Richard Railey, who did not return a phone call.

Supervisor Ron West suggested developing a rural living advisory committee.

“He (a farmer) has to have a place to put equipment,” West said. “We have to work together to enhance the values of our homes. To make it a pleasant experience.”

Supervisor Walt Brown doesn’t believe the board should mediate.

“Most farmers have equipment to cannibalize,” Brown said. “They have other equipment on the farm to make things work. There has to be a good-neighbor policy.”

Supervisor Walter Young said all farms have inoperable equipment.

“We’ve got to be neighborly,” Young said. “We’ve got to come up with a solution for both parties.”

“Farming is our number one industry,” West added. “We have to protect it.”

Supervisor Carl Faison isn’t sure if a rural living advisory committee is the answer.

“What we need is a clarification of the code,” Faison said.

Supervisor Chairman Dallas Jones suggested Lewis look into it.