Jemison works to clean up property

Published 5:18 pm Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed has a message: Clean it up or pay the city to do it for you.

City workers this week tore down a house on Old Mars Hill Road, off County Road 38, and Reed said others would suffer the same fate if owners don’t bring their property into compliance with the city’s ordinance.

“That’s something people need to understand,” Reed said. “If you are in violation of our code, then we’re going to do what’s necessary to get that property cleaned up.”

Reed said most cases arise after complaints from neighbors, but the mayor said city employees always keep an eye out for property that needs to be addressed.

A letter is sent to owners of property that violates the ordinance, possibly after it has been inspected by Jemison Fire Chief John Dennis and/or Building Inspector Shannon Welch.

The owner has 30 days to respond to the letter, detailing how he or she plans to bring the property into compliance. The property owner then has 30 more days to complete the work necessary.

If the requirements are not met, the city does the work–which may include tearing down a house–and then places a lien against the property in the amount of money it took to bring the property into compliance.

“This uglies up our city and devalues everyone else’s property,” Reed said. “People don’t want to live next to that, so we’re going to do what we lawfully can.”