UPDATE: City Crews Begin Clearing Homeowner’s Yard In Five Points

Grayson Street

City landscaping crews clear the right of way along Grayson Street near Pratt Avenue in the Five Points area. (Photo: Melissa Riopka/WHNT News 19)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – After a two-year battle, city landscaping crews are clearing a homeowner’s yard in Five Points.

The City of Huntsville declared James Hessler’s yard a public nuisance.  It sits at 1320 Pratt Avenue, at the corner of Grayson Street.  The yard is so overgrown, the house is barely visible.

Hessler has fought the city since 2012.  Both a Madison County judge and a state appeals court sided with the city, and earlier this month, the case Alabama Supreme Court declined to hear his case.

Wednesday, the city moved in to begin clearing the right of way on Pratt and then on Grayson.  Crews are using weedeaters, chain saws and a wood chipper.

Joy McKee, Director of Landscaping for the City of Huntsville, said crews intend to move further in on the property and keep working, possibly for the rest of the week.

WHNT News 19 has learned Hessler is seeking an injunction to stop the abatement, however, the city has the court order giving them the right to start clearing the property.

Kenneth Benion, Community Development Director, said the city will bill Hessler for the services. If Hessler cannot pay or refuses to pay, Benion said the city will put a lien on the property.

UPDATE – James Hessler e-mailed WHNT the following statement early Wednesday afternoon:

“It is a bad day for a city that claims to be green. I have been  punished for not wanting a turf lawn with splotches of seasonal color.  The city of Huntsville has destroyed thousands of dollars worth of  hardwood and ornamental trees, widely accepted groundcovers and hedge  plants. This process has stripped me of my personal privacy in my own  home.

They gave me two years notice of the pending rape, but I have been violated.”

James Hessler                                                                                                                           1320 Pratt Avenue



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