Commission orders cleanup

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The owner of the property at 177 Randolph St. in Canoe has 30 days to clean the lot of debris and weed nuisances.

A Canoe resident has 30 days to clean his property from what the Escambia County Environmental Officer says is a junk nuisance.

Billy Ellis of 177 Randolph St. was given a month to continue cleaning up his property or face fines of $150 per day until the work is done.

Nancy Barton, environmental officer for Escambia County, said the property owner had already been cited for the issues on the property near Escambia Academy.

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“I began an investigation on Aug. 9 to determine the condition at th property,” Barton told Commissioners. “At that time I didn’t go on the property because of the bad odor coming from there. There were also so many animals on the property and they evidently had fleas. They seeme aggressive as well.”

Barton said a truck on the property contained “a lot” of household garbage and Ellis had told her that was what was causing the odor

“The yard seems to be so full that they cannot clearly park in their yard,” Barton told commissioners. “They are kind of partially parking in the road.”

Barton said that Ellis agreed to attempt to clean the property after meeting with her following her initial investigation.

County Attorney Thad Moore conducted the hearing about the issues surrounding the ordinance concerning junk and trash in the county.

“Do you feel the problems there would be a nuisance to adjoining land owners,” Moore asked Barton.

“Yes I do,” Barton said. “There are fleas on the property and several animals. There is a rotten smell come from the truck and other areas
of the property. Flies, maggots and roaches are always a problem wit those issues. I would consider this a public nuisance.”

Following her initial investigation, Barton said a citation was issued to Ellis on Aug. 23.

“He was issued the citation at that time since the property had no been cleaned up,” Barton said. “He was sent a notice of this hearing on Sept. 6.”

Barton said since the citation and hearing notice had been sent toEllis, some effort for cleanup of the property had been made.

“Although there has been some work done the property is still i violation,” Barton said. “There is a vehicle on the property tha doesn’t have a tag on it and doesn’t appear to run. There are still other issues as well.”

When Ellis had his chance to speak, he said he had worked on th property but finances had been an issue for him in that effort.

“I’ve started cleaning up but I’ve had a lot of things to happen,”Ellis said.

“I was taking care of my mama. She had Alzheimer’s and died. During that time things just got out of control. I don’t work a public job and I just haven’t had the money to get things done, but I have been working on it.”

Moore asked Ellis if additional time would help him to get in compliance with the ordinance.

“If the county gives you 30 days to cleanup the property, can you do it?” Moore asked.

Ellis said he believed he could.

Commission Chairman David Stokes told Ellis that individuals and groups are available to help those in need in these kinds of situations.

“There are people out there who are interested in helping you ge things cleaned up,” Stokes said. “We want to try to all work together. It is the intent of the commission to work toward a good result for everyone. A lot of work can be done in a month. With Ms. Barton and the contacts of Commissioner (Brandon) Smith, I think you can get it to the point where it’s no longer in violation of our junk ordinance.”

Ellis has 30 days to clean the property or face fines of $150 per day until the work is complete.

In other business, the commission:

• Awarded a bid for a crew cab work truck for the Alabama Forestry Commission to Peach Chevrolet at a cost of $30, 445. County
Administrator Tony Sanks said funding for the purchase will be from monies received from the National Forestry Department.

• Agreed to handle receipt and disbursement of a $123,000 grant received b the Department of Youth Services for the Project Turn
Around program.

• Agreed to pursue a grand from the Department of Homeland Security for communications in the county. Sanks said the grant would help fund a mobile communications bridge to aid in expanded communications. One example for use of the equipment would be to allow a variety of departments, including those from outside the county, to communicate with all county departments.

• Approved the appointment of Mike Jay on the Huxford Water Board to replace William Gorum who recently retired from the position.