A Standish woman will have 30 days from a judge’s written order to clean up her yard.

Gwen Thurman, of 29 Woodridge Road, appeared in Cumberland County District Court in Bridgton last Thursday, charged with violating Maine’s Automobile Graveyard/Junkyard Statute.

Though she potentially faced a fine of up to $100 per violation per day, retroactive to the first notice of violation nearly a year ago, according to Standish Code Enforcement Officer Dan Hill, Thurman received a $5,000 fine, which will be suspended if certain conditions are met.

In addition, Thurman will be required to pay Standish’s legal fees in the amount of $2,000, with scheduled payments of $75 per month.

In order to avoid the $5,000 fine, Thurman’s yard must be cleaned up within 30 days, the yard must never fall back into its present condition and Thurman must continue to make the $75 monthly payments. If any of these conditions are not met, the fine will be imposed.

Thurman’s yard first came to Hill’s attention a year and a half ago, when he received letters of complaint from two of Thurman’s neighbors. When he drove out to investigate, Hill was met with more than 150 old tires, junk cars, used car batteries, 55-gallon drums and piles of trash.

Hill talked to Thurman and her live-in boyfriend and they began to clean up the property. But in May, Hill issued Thurman a first notice of violation.

In September, when the property was still cluttered with debris, Hill issued a second notice. Then, in November of last year, the Standish Town Council authorized Hill to take legal action against Thurman. Although several of her neighbors say that Thurman’s boyfriend is the one responsible for the junk, the onus falls on Thurman as the sole owner of the property.

The case first went to court at the end of January but Thurman was late and the appearance was rescheduled.

“This is the longest I’ve ever gone without taking action,” Hill said. “I didn’t go for the huge fine – my ultimate goal from the beginning was to get it cleaned up.”


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