America the Messy Yard Police State

New York woman gets $79,000 in messy yard fines!

Messy yard cops nail New York woman with $79,000 file! Don't these government terrorist have any real criminals to hunt down?


NY trash 'recycler' avoids $79K in clutter fines

(AP) – 1 day ago

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. — A woman in an upstate New York village nearly had to pay $79,000 in fines for her hobby of picking through curbside trash and piling the items in her yard.

Karen Herzog calls herself a trash "recycler" — recovering everything from typewriters to porcelain figurines to discarded bricks.

She's donated much of it to the Salvation Army or found ways to use the objects at her home outside of Binghamton.

But neighbors in Johnson City didn't appreciate the heap of clutter in her yard and reported her for code violations.

Herzog was recently told in village court she'd have to pay $79,000 unless she got rid of everything except a broken wicker chair and a flower pot.

The garbage is gone. But Herzog says she's now considering reporting her neighbors for code violations.

Information from: Press & Sun-Bulletin,


Trash vs. Treasure

They say one person's trash is another person's treasure, but a group of Johnson City residents were not happy when a neighbor displayed her "treasures" in her front yard.

Karen Herzog's yard in front of her Miriam St. home is now empty, but neighbors say it was normally piled with clutter, from typewriters to porcelain figurines.

A group of them actually took Herzog to village court, where she was given an ultimatum: clean up the mess or pay a $79,000 fine.

One neighbor not part of that group says she's seen improvement.

"It's getting better," said Erin Clark. "Not quite up to par. It's just been a lengthy process, you know. Like, as I said, she has reported us for some things."

Herzog has called herself a trash "recycler." She also says she's considering reporting her neighbors for code violations of their own.

JC woman avoids $79,000 trash penalty

But Miriam St. resident ordered to clear yard

By Steve Reilly • • May 28, 2010, 10:00 pm

JOHNSON CITY -- Miriam Street resident Karen Herzog's hobby of rescuing trash from curbside piles in her neighborhood almost landed her in a $79,000 heap of trouble.

Herzog, a self-proclaimed trash "recycler," has recovered everything from typewriters and bricks to porcelain figurines and linoleum flooring over the past 18 months, donating much of it to the Salvation Army or finding a creative use for it within her home.

But the clutter in her yard has raised the ire of neighbors and the flags of village code enforcement officers. This week, the conflict came to a head in village court where Herzog was handed a decidedly mixed sentence for alleged code violations.

On one hand, Herzog was ordered to remove everything from her yard except one broken wicker chair and one flower pot. On the other hand, she won't have to pay the $79,000 in code violation fines, which the court waived.

"I thought it was two violations at $250 each," explained Herzog, 59, who moved to Johnson City from Ithaca to take care of her elderly aunt. "It turns out it was per day, times the number of days since I started to ignore them."

Village code enforcement secretary Diane Salva said residents do accumulate large sums in fines such as Herzog's, on occasion.

"In most places, one citing is enough," she said. "For us to take someone to court over a code violation, that means we've been dealing with it for quite a while. It's rare that code ends up in court."

Herzog, meanwhile, said the village is being closed-minded by turning up its nose at her efforts to find creative re-uses for waste.

Even a dog leash on her mailbox -- for easy access when walking her dog -- and a brochure rack she modified for use as a garden trellis will have to be taken inside, she complained.

"They want you here to go buy everything at the Christmas Tree Shop and then put it in the garbage next week after you don't want it," she said.

Despite the $3,000 in legal bills the dispute has cost her, Herzog said she is considering an appeal on the grounds that the apparent code violations of her neighbors are going unprosecuted.


America the Messy Yard Police State