By Sandy Schroth
Editor 

Clearwater resident found guilty of violating junk ordinance

 

September 24, 2020

CW Schonemann, 49, who resides at 307 Montana Street in Clearwater, appeared in Antelope County Court in Neligh last Wednesday, Sept. 16, for trial.

The case involved violation of a village nuisance ordinance, with the date of violation noted as June 12.

The Honorable Donna Taylor presided, with the village attorney, Joe McNally, as prosecutor. McNally presented photos and other evidence and called village clerk Tina Snider and Antelope County deputy John Shaver to the stand to testify.

Shaver testified Schonemann had refused an offer by the village to clean his property at no cost. He said he had visited the property and spoke to Amy Schonemann on April 26, advising a citation would be issued if the property was not cleaned up in 30 days.


He identified two unlicensed vehicles in photos taken June 12, as well as lawn mowers, pallets, tires, rims, lumber and other objects. He said the items were still on the property as of Wednesday morning and the defendant had put in some fence posts and had indicated he planned to erect a fence.

Although use of a fence to obscure the items from public view is an option, McNally said the defendant was trying to use snow fencing and pallets.

Schonemann, who appeared without counsel, took the stand to testify in defense.

“Somebody keeps complaining against me,” he said and expressed surprise that the citation was a “new case.”

He had been convicted of a similar ordinance violation last year. He said he had mowed, but the grass had gotten “a little too long,” and he was waiting for parts for a mower.

“Some days my health only allows a few minutes work,” he said.

Shaver said he had offered to assist with cleanup on his own time, “to help a fellow vet and I didn’t want to keep knocking on his door.”

Taylor found Schonemann guilty.

“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” she said. “That’s why we have to have ordinances.”

“I can’t imagine any reasonable person would want to live next to you,” she continued. “An approved privacy fence would be one way, but you can’t use a bunch of junk on the edge of your property and call it a privacy fence.”

She sentenced him to a $25 fine and $50 cost of prosecution and warned that he could be charged every day a violation exists, with a potential $500 fine possible each time.

“You need to be working on it,” she concluded.

 

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