YORBA LINDA : Hobby to One May Be Another’s Eyesore

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Kay Bagley calls the collection of boxes, wood and other materials on her side yard and back yard a hobby. But her neighbors and the city call it a health and fire hazard.

Since 1990, city officials have been trying to get Raymond and Kay Bagley to clean up their property, with only minimum, short-term results. The efforts escalated this week when the City Council conducted a public hearing to consider whether the property is a public nuisance.

Despite hearing a code enforcement officer and several neighbors testify that pressure from the city has only resulted in the materials being moved from one spot to another, the council on Tuesday decided to give the Bagleys another month to clean up the property and offered the assistance of city employees to haul away items.


But even as the city was offering her time and help, Kay Bagley indicated the situation was not going to be easily resolved.

“We may not agree on what is debris and what is good plywood for bookshelves,” Bagley said.

Soon after the Bagleys moved into the 2,500 square-foot house five years ago, neighbors on Candle Light Lane began complaining about the collection of boxes, wood, paper and other items accumulating in the Bagleys’ front yard.

The rear portion of the Bagleys’ half-acre lot is surrounded by chain-link fence. Behind their property is a horse trail and a narrow private street, Nutmeg Lane. Houses on Nutmeg Lane face the Bagleys’ back yard and are about three feet higher in elevation.

“We look right down into their back yard,” said Mary Felix, who lives directly behind the Bagleys. “Since moving in 1 1/2 years ago, we’ve slowly watched this stuff creep up to the fence.”

The Bagleys’ back yard resembles a lumber yard, with at least a dozen piles several feet high of plywood and scrap wood, boxes, file cabinets and other objects stretching from the house to several feet away from the chain-link fence.


Bagley said she is saving the wood to build book cases for her collection of several thousand books. The boxes and piles of paper, which she salvages from print shops, are being saved to donate to local preschools.

“When I began to see (the paper)going to waste, while schools were crying about not having enough money for art supplies, I put the two together,” Bagley said.

If the city declares the Bagleys’ property a public nuisance, the couple will have 30 days to clean up the property. After that, if city officials are not satisfied, they will send workers to complete the job and bill the Bagleys for the labor.