Ledger Inquirer: Trash keeps piling up at shopping center dumpster

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comApril 28, 2013 

Some people have no respect for other people's property.

Witness what is pictured here: An enormous pile of garbage bags, overflowing what was once apparently a concrete block home for a dumpster, clearly marked on at least two sides with signs saying: "No Trash Dumping Violators Will Be Prosecuted."

Beneath one of the signs is another pile of trash, seemingly taunting, "Prosecute THIS."

The mess is in the Cliatt Shopping Center on Fort Benning Road, at the far end of the strip mall near the intersection with Levy Road.

A longtime resident of the neighborhood said the problem has been going on for months. The owner of the property has posted signs to discourage people from dumping trash there, but you can see from the picture how effective that is.

Besides just being ugly, the trash attracts vermin and on hot days can smell less than pleasant, my reader said.

This seems like a Special Enforcement kind of case, so I contacted Drale Short, who manages that division of the city government.

Short said that regardless of whether the owner or illegal dumpers are causing the mess, the property owner is responsible for cleaning it up.

Short checked into the property Friday and it turns out the city was already on the case. The property is owned by an out-of-town landlord who lives in Suwanee, Ga. The city sent him a registered letter telling him to clean up his act, but it has not heard back from him.

So, after the required period of time, which won't be long now, the city will contract out to have the stuff hauled away, then slap a lien on the property so taxpayers might one day get paid back.

While we sympathize with the property owner, it's his or her problem -- if you own the property, you're responsible for its upkeep, whether your neighbors are jerks or not.

For the record, city code Sec. 13-167.7(A)(2) states: "No person shall permit any solid

waste to remain on any private property for which he has responsible charge as lessee, tenant, owner, or occupier."

Update

Good news for the good people of Larry Drive, who have been living with a soggy street lately. A few weeks back, we visited the street, which is in the neighborhood back behind the Shrine Club on Edgewood Road.

Concerned Reader Patti Stone had called to tell me about a constant flow of water apparently forming in the middle of the street. She said in addition to being a waste of water, she feared the ground might be eroding beneath the street.

I called Cliff Arnett, a senior vice president at the Water Works, who said he'd get someone on it. That someone turned out to be Jeremy Cummings, assistant superintendent of field services, who said they've been out there several times, eliminating different potential problems, but they haven't yet discovered the cause.

Among the things they eliminated was a sewer leak, which should be good news to the neighbors.

The other good news is that they plan to get down and dirty on it this week. Cummings said they plan to dig up the street and see first-hand what's causing the problem. He said barring some kind of complication, they should be able to remove the asphalt, dig down to the problem, repair it, fill in the hole and put a temporary asphalt patch on the spot in one day. (They apparently don't lean on their shovels at the Columbus Water Works.)

So if all goes well, the wet spot on Larry Drive should be dried up this week. And in case you're interested (and who could possibly not be?), I'll report next week what the problem was.

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

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