Inquirer: Backyard lake causing problems for little dancers

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 30, 2014 

MIKE OWEN/mowen@ledger-enquirer.comThis waterlogged backyard on Fortson Road is breeding mosquitoes that are bothering nearby children.

Usually people pay extra to have lakefront property, but that's when the lake is supposed to be there.

When it's just a huge perpetual puddle of standing water, it's not only an eyesore, but it's also a public health hazard that's against the law.

Such is the case out on Fortson Road, according to an unidentified Concerned Reader. The small frame house has seen better days, but it appears to be inhabited. Problem is, most of the backyard is under what appears to be several inches of water, and it's not just after a hard rain. She reports the house is right next door to a dance school and the cute little leotarded children going to and from dance class are bothered something awful by mosquitoes from the nearby mosquito breeding ground.

So I called Public Works Director Pat Biegler, who oversees Special Enforcement, which is the department that handles such complaints. She said she would send an officer to investigate and, if need be, issue a citation.

Thanks, Pat. Dance class is bad enough without having to endure mosquitoes, too.


Last week we revisited a couple of properties that we'd written about before.

There was the old dilapidated house at the corner of Cooper Creek Road and Veterans Parkway, which someone had taken down and hauled away. But they neglected to take the brickwork with them. Two stoops, two fireplaces and a smattering of brick pilings remain on the lot.

Not being as well versed in what does and doesn't violate code, I called Greg Coates, director of Inspections and Code, to see if the property is still in violation.

It is.

"It has to be taken down to the ground and hauled away," Coates said.

But the owner, who filed for a demolition permit in February, still has a few months left to complete the job before he's in violation, Coates said.

While I had him on the phone, I asked about the burned out house on Gardiner Drive that I first wrote about in late 2012. It has been condemned, but nothing has been done beyond spraying the big red D on it.

It's a slow process to get a house condemned and then demolished, as we've learned in this line of work. But this one is taking longer than usual. The problem is that after the city condemned the property in late 2012, the owner sold the house to another person, which meant the whole process had to start all over again.

"I know it's bad, but I assure you we have it on our radar," Coates said.

You will also remember that we wrote about a sign company on Armour Road that apparently went out of business and the owners were hauling away all the stuff you make signs out of. But they left a heck of a lot of stuff in the backyard, which faces Billie Drive, where a Concerned Reader lives and is not amused.

While I had Biegler on the phone, I inquired about the property. She said the city is aware of the problem and will address it with the property owners.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or

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