When some people drive past David and Christina Wilson’s home near the former Stevenson School in Masury, they see cars and trucks in various stages of disrepair. Some call it a junkyard.
But, when David Wilson looks out his window, and sees the same sight, he sees something far different.
“I see dollar signs,” he said.
In discussions at township trustee meetings, the Wilson property has become a lightning rod, a symbol of what’s wrong in Brookfield. But, the Wilsons are unrepentant.
“It isn’t great to look at,” Christina said Tuesday, June 5, ‘’but there’s three kids being taken care of.”
The Wilsons, parents to girls ages 8, 6 and 1, bought the property in the 1100 block of Broadway about three years ago, and made it both a home and a place of business.
They own Wilson’s Landscaping, but David Wilson also buys junk cars and sells them for scrap. All of the cars have titles, and they are all gone from the property in one or two days, he said.
Wilson said he makes a good living, and his house is paid off. But, he works hard to make that living.
“He’s gone, sun up to sundown,” Christina Wilson said. “I’m a stay-at-home mom. This is how he takes care of us. He does a good job.”
Neighbors have complained and call the Wilson property an eyesore, and trustees have questioned how they do business and the changes made to the property.
Trustee Ron Haun, noting the Wilsons bought the property of former Trustee John Lopuh, said on May 7, “John Lopuh will be turning over in his grave right now, seeing that. Here’s the sad part about it: there’s people that will fight to have that right to be able to do that in a residential neighborhood. It’s a shame.”
If it’s so bad, David Wilson said, then why have visits from the township code officer, the fire department and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency resulted in no citations, charges, warnings or requests to do anything different?
“I’m not doing anything wrong,” he said.
An EPA inspector went to the property May 16 and, with the Wilson’s blessings, had a look around, they said. In paperwork provided by the Wilsons, the inspector said he was investigating a complaint that gas and oil had been dumped on the ground.
“He walked through the whole thing, took pictures of everything,” Christina Wilson said. “He combed through the area.”
According to an EPA report provided by the Wilsons, the inspector said, “I was unable to see any areas where oil or other automotive fluids have been dumped or mismanaged.”
Trustee Dan Suttles said the EPA told him that it also would look into a pond created on the property to determine whether any natural water flow was interrupted.
“I stressed that when I talked to the EPA this morning,” Suttles said Tuesday, June 5, in reference to the pond.
The paperwork made no mention of such an inspection, although Christina Wilson said the inspector walked the entire property and talked to her about the pond.
An EPA spokesman said June 5 that he would look into the matter.
Wilson said he created the pond about a year ago to get rid of a wooded area that was home to skunks and rodents. The pond is fed by a spring, and is less than an acre in size, which means he did not need a permit to build it.
“The creek is behind that pond and it is not touched,” he said.
Neighbor Carol Guthrie complained to trustees that the Wilsons burn garbage and have “humongous campfires.” Wilson said he occasionally burns sticks, but never torches garbage.
Complainers are simply “exhausting all their efforts” by calling authorities, complaining to trustees, and airing grievances at public meetings, Wilson said.
“They don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “They just see what they don’t like and blow it out of proportion.”
Wilson said he could complain about his neighbors who burn, don’t cut their grass, blow grass into the street and don’t remove dead trees, but he doesn’t.
“I don’t care,” he said. “I don’t care what they do. I don’t pay their taxes.”
He said he chose the property because the house was in good shape and there was a good-sized lot. When he looked at less residential areas, “The prices aren’t right,” he said. “This is a big enough piece of property to do what we want.”
And, if people don’t like what he does, tough.
“This is a township,” he said. “If they don’t like it, they can go live in a condo. We don’t plan on moving.”
I applaud the Wilsons for having the right attitude and gumption to take control of their lives and do what
is necessary to take care of their family. They are not asking for hand outs and not breaking laws. (zoning went down again)
If they were my neighbors I would get to know them better so we could discuss concerns that maybe can be addressed without animosity. They are just doing what they have to to survive in todays economy.