Bamboo Dispute Divides Neighbors in Ava

AVA, Mo. -- At one time or another- neighbors can do some frustrating things like maybe own a barking dog or throw parties. Sometimes the tiniest infractions make us want to pack up and move away.

But an unusual dispute between neighbors and the city of Ava has one homeowner left with deciding what is or isn't a garden.
    
It's a battle pitting one resident against another, and it began when bamboo was erected between two lots - a lot of bamboo that several people claim is out of control.

"It's just evasive. It's just takes over," says Ranita Russell of Ava.  "Yes, It's a nice shelter, but I don't want it taking over my yard." 

Russell has lived in her home for more than a decade. Her husband works in Springfield and they hope to move.

"I'm trying to sell my home. I have people coming over to look at my house and they say I don't want to live next to that. My home has been for sale almost 4 years."

Four years with few interested buyers.

"We're just halted right we just have to stay here until it sells and it's not going to sell until that's cleaned up."

The feud between neighbors is focused around bamboo.

"I see nothing with a garden. A maintained garden, everyone wants that, but that's not a garden to me, that's rubbish and that's mess."

Patricia Davis has lived in her home more than 11 years.

"They don't understand, they don't really care," explains Davis. "All they know is that this is different, nobody else is doing it, at least not this variety or this large of a growth."

David Norman is the Mayor of Ava. He explains,"I mean its not little,a little patch. It's 20-30 ft long and 10 ft wide and a source of irritation for the neighbor."

The city has been put in the middle.  "It's been planted and cultivated and cause to grow there it didn't just happen."

Norman says the bamboo has become a nightmare for Russell.

"What's going on next to them certainly does not improve the value of their property. It certainly does not encourage someone to come and want to buy their house."

But he hopes to resolve this issue.  "She does not think we have the right to apply any ordinance to her yard which we wouldn't if she lived out in the county."

But Davis says it's important to her.  "It's basically all I have. No family, no children, no other place to go and if it's threatened what else can I do except fight," explains Davis.

"She just needs to clean her yard up," adds Norman.

Norman says that Davis has five days to remedy the situation. If she decides not comply the city does have the right to remove the bamboo and give her the bill in the amount of the work done. Although Norman says he has offered his services for free.

Davis says she plans on seeking a restraining order to protect her yard.


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