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Richard and Jackie Smith’s house at 9 Bluff City Road in Somerville. A reader had complained about bushes and junk on the property in response to the newspaper’s “Hiding in plain sight” feature.
Daily photo by Ronnie Thomas
Richard and Jackie Smith’s house at 9 Bluff City Road in Somerville. A reader had complained about bushes and junk on the property in response to the newspaper’s “Hiding in plain sight” feature.

Somerville homeowner has complaint of own

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com · 340-2438

SOMERVILLE — Richard Smith didn’t appear surprised when a Daily reporter came to his house at Bluff City and Center Springs roads.

A reader had complained about bushes and junk on the property in response to the newspaper’s “Hiding in plain sight” feature. Somerville has an ordinance prohibiting junk and overgrown vegetation.

Smith had a complaint, too, about the lot behind him on Center Springs Road, where Robert Hatfield operates a rubber recycling business.

“I’m used to the complaints, but we always take care of it,” said Smith, who lives at the residence with his wife, Jackie, and three children.

“Every time there’s been a complaint, we’ve complied.”

Upgrades

He said he has done a continuous upgrade for the 14 years he has lived at the house.

He said builders constructed it in four sections.

“When I bought this place, you couldn’t see the house,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of trees removed and hauled off about 15 truckloads of junk from the previous owner. I put on a new roof and put up privacy fences. The mayor (Ray Long) commended me for the work we’ve done here.”

Smith said he also eliminated a traffic hazard by filling a section of the front yard, making it level with the asphalt road, which had built up about 6 inches above the yard.

He said he would trim a purple plum tree, part of which hovers over the roof, and a bush at one end of the house.

He said someone will pick up a seat from a pickup that sits underneath the bush, part of the reason for the complaint.

Six vehicles were in front of the house, including the car of a relative who was visiting, Smith’s vehicles and his parents’ vehicle.

“All vehicles run and all are tagged and insured except one, and someone is coming to pick it up,” he said.

He said his property consists of two lots on about an acre. His parents live next door in a mobile home.

Jackie Smith said she bought and planted flowering vines along the fence at the side of the house near the right of way of Center Springs Road.

“We also keep (the right of way) mowed,” she said. “I think the city should be doing that.”

Richard Smith called Hatfield’s Recycling “nasty.” But Hatfield, who has a business license with Somerville, doesn’t see it that way.

“I park my trailers there, where I have a loading dock,” he said, “I’ve been there since 1989. It is not junked up. I work there, where I make my living. I actually own three lots, all the way to the other side.”

Hatfield said an artesian spring is in the bushes on one of the lots, behind where he parks the trailers. He said the spring is the reason for Somerville’s existence.

“There once was a gin there and the operators used the spring,” he said. “I’ve got it fixed where it won’t cave in. If anyone gets down there with a Caterpillar (in a cleanup effort), it will stop the spring up.”

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