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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2007
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Abandoned house at Alabama 36 and Blackwell Road at Valhermoso Springs.
Daily photo by Ronnie Thomas
Abandoned house at Alabama 36 and Blackwell Road at Valhermoso Springs.

Hiding in plain sight

Location: Alabama 36 and Blackwell Road at Valhermoso Springs in Morgan County.

Description: Abandoned house with rusting metal roof, broken windows, overgrown front porch and backyard, but freshly mowed front yard.

Property owners: Melvin E. and Elree Brown. Elree Brown said the front yard is cut because she and her husband, who is pastor of Valhermoso Springs Holiness Church, let people use the lot for yard sales. She said they’ve considered demolishing the house or letting Cotaco Volunteer Fire Department burn it for practice. She said her husband also considered the site for a church building. She hopes that in the near future they will plan something “neat for that property.”

Ordinance: The Morgan County Commission has not passed self-governance that would let the commission abate nuisances such as overgrown weeds, litter and rubbish. Fifteen Alabama counties have self-governance, including Madison and Marshall.

Responsible officials: Property is in Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George’s District 4. George said he is against self-governance, also known as limited home rule, as outlined in House Bill 410, because it includes no criminal penalties.

He said every violation would have to go through civil court, and the commission would have to sue each violator. He said if the commission approved the bill, it would be “a taxpayer’s nightmare and a lawyer’s dream.” George, instead, advocates asking residents in his district to clean their property and bring the debris and rubble to the District 4 shop during an expanded cleanup twice per year. He said he keeps the shop open one week before and one week after announced cleanup days.

Let us know if you’re tired of seeing a dilapidated building, litter, a drainage problem or an eyesore in your neighborhood. In Decatur, 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.

Ronnie Thomas

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