SEFFNER, Fla. — At times there were mattresses piled on top of each other, furniture and heaps of garbage sitting in a yard on Phillips Drive in Seffner.
Larry Stone who has lived on the street said it is hard to imagine the home was once the pride of the neighborhood.
"It was so beautiful," said Stone. "It had some palm trees, some beautiful azaleas."
Stone said it turned into a junkyard five years ago after the homeowner passed away and her son Cliff Noble moved in.
"Cliff is a complicated person," said Stone.
Hillsborough County Code Enforcement officers said Noble is also a serial violator. The 71-year-old is not only facing charges, but has also racked up nearly 800,000 in fines for not cleaning up his yard.
It got so bad, his neighbor Otis Williams says, some people, fear a decline in property value,
"Moved out of the neighborhood because of this," said Williams.
But Williams, a marine serving this country for 16 years, refused to get driven out.
"I just want it cleaned up and give the neighborhood back to the neighbors," said Williams.
So he and others, like Stone, started making calls to authorities.
They never imagined it would take five years from that first plea for the county to adopt a state statute, putting violators before a judge.
"The judge was adamant that if he doesn't have it cleaned up within 30 days he will go to jail," said Williams.
Since the order two weeks ago, Noble has made progress but there's a lot more to do before the May 5 deadline.
If his yard is not cleaned up, he'll spend the next 30 days in jail.
Neighbors are hopeful it will get done.
"We are very pleased to see that changes are happening," said Stone.
Noble told ABC Action News he'll comply. Like Williams, he too served his country and and won't let some garbage sacrifice his freedom.