Unsightly law showing signs of success in Green Forest

Friday, May 11, 2007

Green Forest -- At least 12 properties have been cleaned up in Green Forest since the council-approved nuisance abatement ordinance was put into effect, said Police Chief John Bailey.

Five of those properties had formal complaints filed against them; while the others were discovered by Bailey and Code Enforcement/Animal Control Officer Verlin Griggs.

"We were first trying to work off complaints," explained Bailey, "but there were a lot of problems with people not wanting to complain."

Bailey said although he still prefers to receive formal complaints about properties before taking action, he and Officer Griggs can address unsightly issues.

"We drive around and make a list of several properties," said Bailey, "and then we start the process of trying to make contact with the property owner."

Bailey said this process can take time, especially when the property owner is out of state and the parties are communicating through the mail service.

One property that the department had received "several complaints" about was the East Gate Trailer Park off of Hickman Lane, which was recently purchased by a Hollister, Mo. man.

"There have been great improvements to the inside of the trailers at this point," said Bailey, who added that he had recently walked through some of the trailers and witnessed new carpet and linoleum, as well as a new paint job.

"They've cleaned up at lot on the outside, too," said Bailey, "but the place didn't deteriorate over night, and therefore it's not going to be rectified overnight."

He added that after a meeting with the new owner, he was told that the metal underpinning of the trailers would be replaced with fiber glass.

Also, Bob Tanner's property on County Road 902 near Norris Cemetery has been cleaned, said Bailey, who said the property had "looked like a trailer salvage yard.

"He has made some improvements," said Bailey, "but he is still facing charges from the old ordinance."

Bailey said with the exception of a couple of slow-moving property owners, "most everybody else has complied."

With the new ordinance, the property owners have 30 days to correct the unsightly conditions, or five days to appeal the complaint to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

If the property owner does not address the issue, the city can clean the property and bill the owner for the expense of the clean-up, plus a civil penalty fee.

If the property owner does not pay that bill, the city can put a lien on the land.

However, Bailey said most residents have complied upon initial contact.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: