James McLeod just wants to be left alone.
The 68-year-old Franklin County man lives in the home where he grew up. He even has a 1959 black flatbed truck that has been in his family since it was new.
But Franklin County officials are trying to get McLeod to clear away some of his old vehicles, saying he has a junkyard on his nearly 8 1⁄2 acres on Road 56.
The county is asking a Franklin County Superior Court judge to order McLeod to remove eight broken-down vehicles and other debris from his land.
County law allows McLeod to have one inoperable vehicle, or two if they can’t be seen from public view.
McLeod’s collection includes a school bus, three tractors, two trailers, the flatbed truck, a pickup and a crane.
McLeod is a disabled former Pasco firefighter. He was injured in 1971 when he crashed his 1948 Taylorcraft fabric plane, [John]Schultz [McLeod's lawyer]said.
He has dementia and various limitations because of his injury that make it difficult for him to deal with change and carry out a plan, according to a mental examination the court required.
McLeod has lived alone since his mother died several years ago. He maintains the property and uses one of his tractors to mow it.
Because of his disability, McLeod should have had a guardian when the county began its administrative actions against him, Schultz said.
When it became apparent McLeod needed a guardian, the county prosecutor petitioned for one. Court documents that the county filed state that McLeod’s attorney had not brought up the need for a guardian, and a guardian isn’t required during an administrative action.
The county first appointed a guardian in 2006, and a new court action wasn’t started until 2007, according to court documents.
Documents that county prosecutors filed in 2007 argued that just because McLeod didn’t have a guardian when the county started code enforcement doesn’t mean the case has to be dismissed.
Schultz and McLeod are asking the judge to throw out the county’s claim, terminate the guardianship and order the county to foot the guardianship bill, which isn’t specified.
Schultz said that instead of helping McLeod deal with the county complaint, guardian Nancy May hired a lawyer to get power to manage McLeod’s assets, which McLeod doesn’t want.
Schultz also argues that the county is abusing its power. He said if McLeod’s property was developed into 23 homes, each lot could have three to four vehicles. McLeod has nine.
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Franklin Count Wants Pasco Man to Remove Vehicles