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This land at 1848 Beltline Road is owned by the Armory Commission.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
This land at 1848 Beltline Road is owned by the Armory Commission.

Hiding in plain sight
Armory Commission land is dominated by weeds, woodpile

Location: 1848 Beltline Road S.W.

Description: A woodpile is in a jungle of overgrown weeds. The weeds blanket the land between the Golden Phoenix and Sonic restaurants and extend behind McDonald's and the post office. They hide a fire hydrant.

Property owner: Morgan County revenue records list the Armory Commission of Alabama as the property owner. Lt. Col. Steven Grigsby said the property contains wood and concrete piles and the low-lying area collects water during thunderstorms.

The drought provided ideal conditions for the National Guard to address the property, ridding the land of any water collection, Grigsby said. A broken bush hog used to maintain the area, however, malfunctioned several months ago and delayed the project.

Grigsby said the Bush hog, which is operational, will tackle the overgrown lot once the guardsman skilled at operating the machine is available.

"We want to be good neighbors and get it cleaned up," Grigsby said. "What people need to know is that we are operating on limited funds and limited people."

Ordinance: Decatur's weed, junk and litter ordinance requires property owners to maintain their grass under 12 inches. As a federal government entity, however, the Alabama National Guard is absolved from complying with city laws.

"State and federal governments are exempt from all co-compliance with local ordinances,"
explained David Lee, code enforcement officer with Community Development.

Responsible officials: The property is in City Councilman Ronny Russell's District 4.

Russell's constituents have voiced their concerns about the property.

Russell described the area as "unsightly" and requested an inspection from the Community Development Department.

Lee said Community Development also received complaints and will speak to the National Guard about the situation.

"We will ask them to be a good neighbor, and I am sure they will comply like they have done in the past," Lee said.

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.

Catherine Godbey

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