Ledger Inquirer: Fort Mitchell home's overgrown backyard looks like a jungle

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 10, 2013 

Living in an unincorporated area, like Fort Mitchell, Ala., means there's no city government minding your business, telling you how you're supposed to act.

The disadvantage is, there's no city government to tell your neighbor how to act, either.

That's the predicament frustrated reader Sarah Tate finds herself in. She and her soldier husband bought a nice new house in one of those nice new subdivisions that have sprung up on Highway 165 near Fort Benning's rear gate.

Their house is in the Village at Westgate (Village at Reargate probably wasn't considered).

"We live in Fort Mitchell, Alabama, home to many hard working military families, who try and take pride in our homes as well as our yards," Sarah writes. "The house next to me has been foreclosed on. Someone has been maintaining the front yard, but the back yard is another story. The six foot tall fence hides the craziness that lurks in the backyard … but not for long. The brush covering the entire yard is almost six feet tall. Not only is it unpleasant to see from my property, but it has brought unwanted field mice into my home."

As you can see from the picture, she wasn't exaggerating.

Now, Fort Mitchell is unincorporated, so there's no city government to sic on this property. But there is a county government, and the Russell County Commissioner for that area is Cattie Epps.

Epps told me she can't sic the law on the owner, because there's not much in the way of property maintenance codes out in the boonies. But she did assure me that she'd see if there is anything the county can do for the Tates.

Turns out she may not have to.

Wells Fargo is the bank that holds the mortgage. I spoke to Jay Lawrence, who handles media relations for this part of the country. He said he couldn't speak of specifics for obvious reasons, but he'd take care of things.

"Thank you for bringing it to our attention," Lawrence said. "We will work with everyone involved and take care of the yard."

Might want to bring a bush hog.


Sentient Readers will recall the dangling power poles from last week's Inquirer. Three old poles around town had been replaced and Georgia Power and AT&T had moved their lines to the new pole, but the cable TV companies had not, which left three sections of creosote-soaked pine pole dangling over the right of way.

Terry Smith, regional director of external affairs for AT&T, which owns the poles, said he'd check into it … and he did. He wrote back that their operations people had confirmed our diagnosis and said they were getting in contact with the cable companies and telling them to get their act together.

Thanks, Terry.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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