Trash troubles at Brandon artist's home

Brandon, Florida -- Trash is piling up at one Hillsborough County home and frustrations are mounting for neighbors.

The front yard at 1208 Mitchell Street in Brandon is littered with everything from shopping carts to a toilet, and residents fear what's lurking in the knee-high tall grass.

Neighbors are calling on code enforcement, commissioners, and the county attorney to take action.

Code enforcement investigators have been out to the Brandon home 13 times in the past 15 months. The homeowner is being fined $1,000 per day for the violations, yet neighbors say the problem is only getting worse.

"There's a toilet, a Styrofoam box, we have a contraption set up with a streetlight," says neighbor Seymour Eldridge.

Eldridge is dumbfounded by what's become of his next-door neighbor's property. The out-of-control grass is filled with furniture, carts, a high chair, child's car seat tied to a tree, a missing garage door, and piles of unidentifiable trash.

"I put up a fence to try to stop the process from all the stuff coming into my yard. It's dangerous," says Eldridge. He's been asking homeowner James Boggs to clean it up for months and has even offered to help.

"Last time he told me this to him is art. To me, this is an illegal dumping site in a residential area," Eldridge says.

The homeowner is an artist seen on YouTube videos selling his "Boggs Bucks". He may need the money to pay his code violation fines, which are now $207,051.

Investigators tell 10 News that the case has been open since April 24, 2013. On November 19, 2013, Boggs was given 30 days to clean it up. When he didn't comply, the fines started accruing December 20, 2013.

"I was sure he would do something. $1,000 per day – and nothing," says Eldridge.

Boggs no longer lives at the home. Records show he stays with his mom, just down the road in Brandon.

10 News uncovered that there's an open code enforcement case against her, too. The garage is packed with just a small path to walk. The front door is blocked by a porch-full of belongings that's been hidden by a tarp. No one answered the door.

Neighbors are now looking for answers from the county to help clean up the mess.

"It's just frustrating," says Eldridge.

Code enforcement tells 10 News that the next step is for the county attorney to get involved to look into possibly seizing the property.

In Hillsborough County, homeowners found to have violated "property maintenance" standards, who don't fix the problems in a timely manner, can face fines of up to $1,000 per day.

Hillsborough County Ordinance 09-63, known as the Property Maintenance Code, provides for regulations requiring the maintenance of all structures and properties within the unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County. The intent of this ordinance is to secure the public health, safety, and welfare.

This code sets the minimum standards for dwelling units to include:

  • Heating and sanitary requirements
  • Prohibits defined nuisance conditions, such as overgrowth and inoperable vehicles
  • Provides the specific standards for swimming pool maintenance and security
  • Space

This Ordinance also requires that the exterior of all residential, commercial and accessory structures be maintained to prevent decay and deterioration of the community.

In Hillsborough County, there are several ways to anonymously report violations.

You can report a complaint by calling 813-274-6600 or online.

You can also mail a complaint to:

County Center, Code Enforcement

601 E. Kennedy Blvd.

Tampa, FL 33602

Click here to look up Active Code Enforcement cases.

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