An eyesore no more, but don’t call cleanup a ‘Miracle’

Published 8:52 am Friday, March 13, 2009

Staff Writer
CHOCOWINITY — Clearing out Buddy Paramore’s junkyard at the corner of Sand Hole Road and U.S. Highway 17 took more than 90 days of heavy lifting and moving. But the deed is done, albeit days late.
In early November, the city of Washington served Paramore with a zoning compliance letter. The letter informed Paramore that the property he rented and used as a junkyard violated the city’s zoning laws.
Junkyards are not permitted in the city’s Highway Commercial Districts, including U.S. 17 South, where the junkyard is located.
Paramore was told the junkyard would have to be cleared out by March 1, or he would face further action by the city.
Paramore, 71, was slow to get started on the project, thanks to a bad back made worse by the abnormally cold winter.
In February, with the coldest part of winter behind him, Paramore began to make decent progress.
An update on his cleanup was provided to the Washington City Council at its Feb. 23 meeting by John Rodman with Planning and Development.
Rodman provided photographs of the junkyard to the council, which in turn said it was not satisfied with Paramore’s effort.
Rodman returned to the council at its March 9 meeting which additional photographs showing the junkyard almost completely cleared out.
Paramore was scheduled to appear at the meeting, but didn’t show up.
He said his appearance was added to the council’s agenda unbeknownst to him.
In his opinion, the issue has been resolved.
The individual who brought Paramore’s junkyard to the forefront almost two years ago seems satisfied, as well.
Roger Tuttle, head of the Miracle Mile Committee, said the property “looks so much better.”
The Miracle Mile Committee is a group of volunteers dedicated to cleaning and beautifying the land on both sides of U.S. 17 between Chocowinity and Washington. Paramore’s junkyard was a sore spot for the Miracle Mile, and Tuttle took every avenue he could to get it cleared out in the past two years, he said.
He contacted the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which referred him to the city of Washington Planning and Development Department, which served Paramore for a zoning violation.
Tuttle thanked committee volunteers for helping clear the junkyard, although all the hard labor was done by Paramore and hired hands, Paramore said.
The city of Washington provided two dumpsters to help clean up the property, Tuttle said.
Tuttle said he was glad to “get the people that actually own (the junkyard) to realize that it did need to be cleaned up.”
The feedback Tuttle received affirms his sentiment, he said.
Paramore, owner of Buddy’s Family Restaurant, which sits adjacent to his former junkyard, has been fielding calls of a different nature from his business neighbors on U.S. 17, he said.
Cutline for corresponding photos: Buddy Paramore’s junkyard on the corner of Sand Hole Road and U.S. Highway 17 used to hold scattered scrap metal, lawn mowers, cars and boats (below). It now holds little more than a trailer (above). (WDN Photos/Greg Katski)