Ledger Inquirer: Overgrown house has neighborhood calling for help

July 7, 2013 

MIKE OWEN/mowen@ledger-enquirer.comThis apparently vacant house on Alta Vista Drive has neighbors pleading for help.

This is a first. Three different Concerned Readers called me last week concerning a problem property in their neighborhood. When I rode out to see it, I was surprised a few more hadn't called.

The house is at 1712 Alta Vista Drive, and looking at it from one angle, you can barely see the house. In fact, I drove right by it the first time because it's not obvious there's even a house back behind the overgrown foliage.

As we all know, if a property owner allows weeds or grass to grow beyond 18 inches high, they're in violation of a city ordinance. What usually happens is that Special Enforcement contacts the property owner and tells them to clean up their act, and their yard, or the city will contract it out.

Then the city will place a lien on the property so that when the owners go to sell it, they can't until they pay the city back for the yard work.

What some people don't know is that the city can also fine you and/or put you in the city jail for repeatedly violating the ordinance. The fine can be as high as $1,000 and the jail time up to 90 days.

But my concerned readers believe the house is in foreclosure, so it may belong to a bank. The bank would still be responsible for the upkeep, but you can't throw a bank in jail, even though there are times

when you'd think you should be able to.

City records show the house still belonging to a couple who, according to Nexis.com, moved to Arkansas a while back. And odds are they won't be extradited for a lawn violation.

Anyway, I would have called Drale Short, head of Special Enforcement, on Friday to report the house, but the government was closed. (Must be nice.) So I'll call her today and let her figure out who to go after.

Update

I was really hoping to get an update on the RiverWalk covered bridge saga, but that's going to have to wait, due to the aforementioned government shutdown.

But we'll know something Tuesday when someone (my guess would be Deputy City Manager David Arrington) is going to present a covered bridge update to Columbus Council that morning.

If you follow me on Twitter (and who doesn't?) and you're just dying to know the covered bridge scoop, you can find out that way (@MikeOwenLE) during Tuesday morning's council meeting.

Meanwhile, I can report that Public Works Director Pat Biegler came through last week and got the dangerous pothole on the Fall Line Trace patched, at least temporarily.

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

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