Athens To Fine Owners Of Nuisance Homes

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ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - If you have an untidy, sloppy residence that's an eyesore in Athens, you may be hearing from city hall soon.

Athens is taking a big step towards making property owners tidy up. If you don't adhere to the notice, you could face fines.

Mary Jane Hammer is glad to see it happening.  The property next to her home is a mess, especially when compared to her well-kept lawn and house.

"It's very annoying," Hammer said.  "When we drive up, coming from 72, you just see that before you see here."

It's a challenge for cities like Athens to mesh city ordinances with state law.  The state doesn't help, and the city is trying to protect citizens like Hammer who do the right thing when it comes to maintaining home and property.  The Athens City Council recently gave the green light to clean up properties deemed public eyesores.

"In the last few years we've looked at 105 pieces of property that the city council has taken action on and actually either destroyed the property or cleaned it up," said Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks. "We have another 100 that we're trying to work with the property owner and get them to do it on their own."

Mayor Marks says it's about personal responsibility to keep your house and property maintained.  He says the City of Athens won't hesitate to take steps to do it for you.

Mayor Marks says it costs several thousand dollars to clean or demolish a property.