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City of Lantana goes after soldier returning from


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City To Sergeant: Clean Up Yard -- Now

Mike Neal Just Returned From Serving Overseas


LANTANA, Fla. -- She's in and out of the hospital, and he just returned from serving his country in Afghanistan, yet the town of Lantana wants the couple's top priority to be fixing their yard.

The clock is ticking for a soldier and his family to follow orders -- or else.

When Army Sgt. Mike Neal returned from the war over the weekend, he went to bed, got up the next day, and started seeding his yard.

Code enforcement told them seeding wasn't enough.

Lawn work is hardly the welcome home party Neal wanted. After 14 long months at war in Afghanistan, relaxation seemed like a simple request.

"All I asked for is a week or two to get settled in and get back to normal life," Neal said.

Lantana code enforcement officers gave him 48 hours to fix the lot and swale next to his home.

"I'm not disputing that the yard needed to be fixed," said Neal. "I just wanted time to get it fixed right."

Code enforcement first warned him and his wife in July about the violation.

Neal's wife couldn't take care of it following multiple surgeries, because paying for sod seemed too costly.

"Why should I spend $500 when I can seed it and let the grass grow?" Neal asked.

Authorities left them alone for the next several months because of hurricane damage, but the latest warning came right before Neal got home.

The Evergreen Cemetery -- owned by the city -- is worse off than Neal's property ever looked when he was gone.

But, a soldier follows orders.

Neal bought enough sod to cover what he could on short notice.

"Why can't we get a little consideration here?" asked Neal's wife, Phyllis. "He's been over there 14 to 15 months. They can't give us two more weeks?"

The Neals expect to be fined starting Saturday because they couldn't finish sodding, and their seed hasn't had time to grow.

The head of Lantana's code enforcement told WPBF the town's given them the appropriate amount of time to improve the property and they will make no exceptions.



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It's not like code enforcement was waiting on the doorstep for his return...It's been 10 months.


Good job with serving your country, protecting freedom and all that...Now fix up your dump and stop making excuses.


Yeah, being in AFGHANISTAN for those 10 months isn't a legitimate excuse or anything :rolleyes: .

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