Property Owners Squabble Over Site Under TVA Power Lines

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Imagine looking out your window and seeing trailers, farm equipment and what you believe is scrap metal. It’s the reality for a man in Colbert Heights. He calls it dangerous junk. Jeff Stowe emailed WHNT NEWS 19 asking for help to find a solution.

Stowe first took his concerns to Colbert County officials. He claims the person who’s collecting all of it doesn’t care how it looks. Stowe calls it disgusting. He wants Colbert County leaders to make the owner of all that stuff clean it up or at least contain it all. But, there’s a problem.

Stowe has enjoyed living in Colbert Heights nearly 40 years.

“My parents moved up here when I was a kid. I just like it up here,” said Stowe.

He started to see things differently when a neighbor moved in a few years ago. Stowe says that neighbor brought in what he calls junk.

“It’s just progressed, gotten worse and worse,” added Stowe.

Stowe doesn’t like living next to mounds of dirt, piles of scrap metal or whatever is lying around.

“I mean, it might help if he would just try to bunch it up together instead of spreading it out over the whole property,” added Stowe.

Stowe ended up seeking help from a Colbert County Commissioner.

“The commissioner said he can’t do nothing about it. His hands are tied,” added Stowe.

He did not want to give up.

“I’ve seen you help people in the past. I thought well, I will give that an option. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know what else to do,” added Stowe.

WHNT NEWS 19 called George Kimbrough. He’s the county’s Junk Enforcement Officer.

“I did two years’ worth of work on this case. Their big problem is they live under high power electrical lines,” said Kimbrough.

Stowe, who’s considering putting up his home for sale, wants Kimbrough to work some more.

“Who would want to buy it with all this garbage up here? I mean, he has just brought the neighborhood property values down because of the way it looks,” added Stowe.

Stowe told WHNT NEWS 19 someone with the Tennessee Valley Authority visited the property a couple of months ago and cut down some trees.  Stowe says that person was concerned about these power lines touching those trees. Now, those power lines are gone, but TVA’s concern remains. They now wonder if those lines will sag onto those trailers parked on the property.

Kimbrough told WHNT NEWS 19 those lines are keeping commissioners from enforcing anything. Benjamin Hand owns the property under the lines. He runs a backhoe service on the property.

“Everything on his property is of value. Of course, I am like you, I don’t like the way it looks. But, TVA will not let him build a fence to hide it,” added Kimbrough.

WHNT NEWS 19 did more digging into this story by contacting TVA. A TVA spokesman told WHNT NEWS 19 property owners with TVA transmission easements can build a fence, so long as they let TVA review the plans to ensure crews will have access.

The spokesman said Hand’s property does not violate any TVA rules. It appears Stowe has to install a fence if he wants to no longer see the property.

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