Commission: Clean up or pay up

Published 7:52 am Wednesday, June 24, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell
One Escambia County resident will soon feel the sting of a law in force through the Escambia County Commission.
George Roberson of U.S. Hwy, 31 near Atmore has been cited with violation of the county’s junk ordinance passed in 2007.
Escambia County Environmental Officer Nancy Barton issued a citation to Roberson at his home near Atmore on April 7, according to her testimony in a hearing before commissioners Monday.
Barton said Roberson was not at the residence when the citation was served; however, she was able to have a discussion about the issue when he came to her office.
In the county’s junk ordinance junk is defined as old or scrap copper, brass, rope, rags, batteries, paper trash, rubber debris, waste or junked, dismantled or wrecked automobiles or parts thereof, iron, steel or other old scrap ferrous or nonferrous materials. These items are clearly visible on Roberson’s property, Barton said.
County attorney Thad Moore questioned Barton on her actions after the citation was originally issued.
Barton responded with detailed information on items found on the property.
Barton produced a number of photographs that showed the debris located on the property that violates the ordinance.
Moore asked Barton if Roberson had made any efforts to clean up any of the junk or debris on the property since being served with the citation.
In her testimony, Barton said the original notice served on April 7 was followed with a certified mail notice April 8. Subsequent visits by Roberson to her office were made on April 16 and 21; however, Roberson has not made efforts to correct the situation prompting further action from county officials.
After Roberson was served notice of being in violation of the ordinance, Barton said he did acquire a junkyard license.
Barton said the license Roberson acquired would not allow him to maintain junk on his property in its current state.
Commission Chairman David Stokes said the commission would allow Roberson a reasonable amount of time to correct the situation before imposing fines for the violation.
Commissioners agreed the notice and implementation of fines following a reasonable clean-up time was fair.
If Roberson fails to comply with the citation, he can be charged fines of up to $5,000 plus fines of administrative fees.
A suggestion by Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith to deliver a certified copy of the results of the hearing was considered and approved by commissioners.
In other business, the commission:
Roads to be paved include Ball Lane, Downs Lane, Ollis Street, Palustris Street, Weaver Road, Bell Creek Road and Hog Wallow Road;

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