Resident wants city to address parking, other related issues

Published 8:23 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

Washington officials plan to meet with residents of the East 10th Street neighborhood to get their views on a request to prohibit parking on the south side of the street from Nicholson and Telfair streets, possibly to McNair Street.

Mickey Cochran, who lives on East 10th Street, presented his request to the City Council during its meeting Monday. Cochran told the council about a neighbor who operated a business from their home in a residential area, one that left abandoned cars in their backyard. Cochran also said that neighbor, in retaliation for his complaints to city officials, purposely parked vehicles in front of his house so he and Cochran’s visitors could not park there. Cochran said he wants the city to take action to help him protect his property rights.

“My family has resided at this address for 69 years and has never seen anything like this happen. For the last eight years, I had the misfortune of living beside a junkyard, used-car lot and a rundown house that was abandoned for three-plus years,” Cochran said.

Cochran said his complaints to city officials, including the code-enforcement officer, have yielded some results. “Finally, the gentleman has begun to clean up his backyard where the business was conducted. At one time, there were five vacant cars sitting there for over a year. No one should have to live in that kind of environment.”

Cochran distributed photos that illustrated his concerns to the council members. Cochran recalled that Councilman Richard Brooks and his wife on one occasion clean up the neighboring property “the best it has ever been cleaned up.” When the weeds got high, reptiles and rats would come into his yard, Cochran said. The city has cleaned up the lot at least twice, he noted.

Cochran said vehicles parked on the street by the neighbor hindered the city’s street sweeper from cleaning the street and his ability to place yard waste on the street so it could be picked up and hauled away.

“I’m at your mercy. If you can’t help me, I have nowhere to go,” Cochran said.

City Manager Bobby Roberson said he wants to meet with East 10th Street residents to discuss the issues broached by Cochran and related issues they might have. As for the alleged business operating in the residential area, “We do have that specific property under surveillance. We will take necessary actions to bring the property into compliance,” he said.

A recommendation will be presented to the council in April, Roberson said.





About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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