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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2007
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The view at 137 Conway Road.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
The view at 137 Conway Road.

Hiding in plain sight

Location: 137 Conway Road

Description: A caller complained that the owner was using the property as an "old car parts dealership." Numerous old cars without tags are in the front yard. Trash and other debris are piled on the side of the yard. Caller is concerned that the home could affect others' property values.

Property owner: Morgan County revenue records show that Joseph Russell owns the property. The Daily attempted to contact Russell, but the phone number was disconnected.

Ordinance: The county does not have any regulations about maintaining private property. However, homeowners are expected to use the garbage collection service, and they are charged a collection fee whether they use it or not, said County Commission Chairman John Glasscock.

John Rogers of the Morgan County Health Department's environmental services said household waste and other garbage must be disposed of properly, and it is a solid waste violation to throw it in the yard. "It could result in an arrest if the person is not complying with public health regulations," he said.

The property owners will be given a notice about the solid waste violation, and they have 20 days to clean it up. If after that time, the garbage is not cleaned up, a final notice is issued. The owners have 10 days to take care of it. Once that time expires and nothing is done about the trash, the department will swear an affidavit, and the case can be prosecuted in Morgan County District Court.

"The maximum amount we could ask the court to fine a person is $500 and court costs," he said.

Responsible officials: The property is in Commissioner Jeff Clark's District 1. "There's no regulations for someone with a messy yard," he said. Clark said nearby Marshall and Jackson counties have passed ordinances that force owners of scrap and salvage yards to put up fences to keep them out of public view. "If the people wanted to vote on something like that, we could put it on a referendum, and if it passed, we would support the ordinance," he said.

Let us know if you're tired of seeing a dilapidated building, litter, a drainage problem or an eyesore in your neighborhood. Contact The Daily newsroom at 340-2433 or news@decatur
daily.com. You can also contact Decatur Community Development's weed, junk and litter hot line at 341-4963 to report blight in the city. If you live in Morgan County, you might contact the Health Department at 340-2105 if you believe your eyesore falls under a state regulation
.

- Tiffeny Hurtado

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