Art or junk? Chronic violator defends property
Not everyone appreciates man's creative gardening
Dale Kramicz's folder at the Inspection Department is about an inch-and-a-half thick with documented violations, marked by issues such as peeling paint, broken windows, missing doors and vehicles parked on his yard.
He has violations at his property, in the 3300 block of East Mallory Avenue, dating to 1986.
"It's been an ongoing thing," Building Inspector Butch Loferski said.
Among the various items, Kramicz's property has an old trailer filled with wood, a wood burner and a creamer separator scattered on property. Vehicles are still parked in his yard.
But Kramicz said most of the items are decorations or planters.
He uses his wood burner and cream separator as tomato planters. He also has tables on his front porch for tomato plants, he said.
"It's on the sunny side of the building," he said. "That's where you want to have plants."
Kramicz also grows peppers, melons and radishes in the backyard, he said.
"The less lawn you have to mow, all the better, which is another reason why I'm gardening in the front, so then they can't squawk about the grass being too long," he said.
He said several of the items in his yard are antiques and "artsy" decorations.
Kramicz said he does maintain his yard.
"I mow the lawn and I did some painting on it," he said "I know they were squawking about the siding and I said there's nothing wrong with it. It's old siding, but I did a few little repairs that were needed, and that's plenty good."
After receiving numerous warnings for violations, Kramicz was cited in 2002.
During court, he asked city officials to differentiate what is art and what is an eyesore.
"They just ignored it. They wouldn't answer it at all," Kramicz said.
After receiving numerous warnings, Kramicz was slapped with a $5,660 fine in 2002, said Janet Morris, court clerk. To date, Kramicz owes about $5,000, she said.
Kramicz's yard is still in violation of city code, and some neighbors are tired of looking at it.
"This has been going on for years and years," said John Savoy, a resident of the same block.
Savoy said he has complained about Kramicz property to city officials numerous times, and nothing has been done.
"We all have beautiful yards and we try to keep our yards up," he said. "It's a shame because it tears down the neighborhood."
Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.
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