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SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2007
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The house at 801 Austin St. S.W. has junk and household items on the porch and in the yard.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
The house at 801 Austin St. S.W. has junk and household items on the porch and in the yard.

Hiding in plain sight

Location: 801 Austin St. S.W.

Description: A caller complained the home has junk and household items on the porch and in the yard. Garbage is in the front yard, and the fence is overgrown. The caller believes the house is a rental.

Property owner: Morgan County revenue records show Mark and Carol Foster own the home.

Mark Foster said he wasn’t aware the home is unkempt. He said the renters would clean it as they have in the past.

“It’s hard to tell a tenant to clean up their mess when a landlord can be thrown off the property for harassing them,” he said.

“The way the system works, it forces the landlord into a confrontation with the tenant, when the city could just give the tenant a notice for how they’re keeping the rental property.

“Why can’t they fine the people who are actually making the mess?” he asked.

Ordinance: It is against city code for a property owner to maintain real property in a way as to constitute a public nuisance. It requires property owners to maintain vegetation. Trash and litter must be stored. Household furnishings and other items must be stored in an approved, enclosed, covered structure so items cannot be viewed from any public right of way.

Responsible officials: The home is in Councilman Ronny Russell’s District 4.

David Lee is the code enforcement officer for the city’s Community Development. He said the home has no current complaints.

Lee said the home was cited twice in 2006, in July and in November for junk.

Let us know: If you’re tired of seeing a dilapidated building, litter, a drainage problem or an eyesore in your neighborhood, contact Community Development’s weed, junk and litter hot line at 341-4963. You can also contact The Daily newsroom at 340-2433 or news@decaturdaily.com.

Tiffeny Hurtado

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