The battle to rid a North Point community of a heap-cluttered auto junkyard raged on for 27 years until a judge's decision last week won the war for residents.
But the victory was so long in coming that most of those who joined ranks to shut down Oscar A. Meyers' junkyard in the 3800 block of North Point Road have moved away or died -- leaving few who can recall where the battleground lies.
"I'm glad it's over," said Marjorie Hill, former president of the Wells McComas Citizens Improvement Association, who for 20 years led the battle against the junkyard until she retired to a Delaware beach resort a few years ago.
Yet she remains skeptical. "We've always been able to win the court battles, but somehow he's has always found a loophole in the system," she said yesterday.
Mr. Meyers faces a jail term, fines or both if he fails to clear the junkyard within 30 days.
Roland Miskimon and other longtime residents say they have been inconvenienced long enough by the sight of the junkyard at the entrance to their enclave of well-kept homes and manicured lawns.
"If we keep our place clean, we expect other people operating down here to do the same thing," he said.
Mr. Miskimon, a retired plumber, testified in Baltimore County Circuit Court last month that the junkyard was an eyesore and its size had increased tremendously since it opened in the 1950s.
His testimony was instrumental in Judge James T. Smith's decision on May 16 to deny the junkyard's claims that it existed before the community and therefore was not governed by zoning laws.
Repeated violations of those laws resulted in the original order for Mr. Meyers to clean up the junkyard.
Repeated delays and appeals by both sides and one dismissal over a bureaucratic mishap dragged the case on for 27 years.
Seemingly wearied by the long legal battle, Mr. Meyers said it is unlikely that he will appeal the decision although he remains bitter toward some of his neighbors.
"They're just a bunch of busybodies," he said.
"They all knew the junkyard was there when they came here, so why are they crying now?"
The junkyard has not bothered some who live or work in the Wells McComas neighborhood, where dense smoke and fumes billow all day from industrial plants and tractor-trailers laden with heavy cargo shake the earth along North Point Road.
"What junkyard?" a young mother asked yesterday as she hung laundry in her backyard, just down the road from the field strewn with rusted clunkers, embedded hub-cap deep in the dirt and camouflaged by weeds.