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The city of Hartselle condemned this home as being a 'hazard to safety and health.'
Daily photo by Deangelo McDaniel
The city of Hartselle condemned this home as being a “hazard to safety and health.”

Hartselle battles blight:
City condemns home

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com · 340-2469

HARTSELLE — City leaders here have condemned a man's home and given him 30 days to remove the structure and clean his lot.

Acting on complaints from neighbors, Jeff Johnson of the Department of Development posted an abatement notice on property belonging to Charles Ray Johnson.

The home is at 400 Washington St. N.W., and the city says it is a "hazard to safety and health."

Johnson said he has not been able to contact the homeowner by telephone. That is why in addition to sending the homeowner a certified letter, city officials placed a notice on the property.

The Daily tried unsuccessfully to contact the homeowner.

"We received complaints from neighbors in the area and found that the home violates several city ordinances," Johnson said.

Initially, the city planned to warn the homeowner about overgrown grass, weeds, trash and unsightly debris.

"It is the responsibility of any lot owner or occupant to at all times keep grass, weeds and accumulation of trash and debris from occurring without notification to do so from the city," Johnson wrote in a June 1 letter.

Three days later in another letter, the city condemned the property and ordered Johnson to remove the home.

The letter says the home is a hazard because of "inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, infestation and accumulation of rubbish and debris."

One neighbor who did not want to be identified called the home a "shame" and "eyesore" for Hartselle.

This is not the first home Hartselle has started condemnation procedures against.

In May, a unanimous City Council gave homeowner Ronald Hammon of 802 Rhodes St. 30 days to start improvements at his home and up to 120 days to complete the repairs.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley said he received a complaint about Hammon's home and asked Johnson to investigate.

City records show that Hammon purchased a building permit Thursday, one day short of the council's 30-day requirement to start improvements.

If he does not meet the 120-day deadline, Johnson said, he would return to the council with a resolution authorizing Hartselle to abate the nuisance.

As is the case in most cities, Johnson said Hartselle receives more complaints about overgrown lots and unsightly structures in the summer.

Since Jan. 1, the city has received about 500 complaints and resolved more than 450 of them.

One of those complaints was against Tillman Plumbing, which is near downtown at Sparkman and Hickory streets.

A caller to The Daily also complained about used commodes outside. Like homeowners, Johnson said, the city requires business owners to keep their grounds clean.

"It's a nuisance if it's unsightly or offensive by sight, smell or noise to the senses of others," Johnson said about business property.

Billy Tillman owns the plumbing business. Although the commodes are on his property, he said they do not belong to him.

"Someone brought them by and threw them out," Tillman said. "I go to the dump about once per month, and I plan to take them then."

Regardless of how they got there, city officials said Tillman is responsible for removing them.

Johnson said he expects to receive more complaints because neighbors will start telling on each other.

"I just want people to know that we will work them as fast as we can," he said.

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