Madison resident wants ‘junk cars’, overgrowth removed from neighbors’ property

MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Mose Chapel Road resident Nancy Burch emailed WHNT News 19 this week at her rope’s end. She says she has been trying to get inoperable vehicles and overgrown brush removed from her neighbor’s property for years – since June 25, 2007 to be precise.

Burch gave us a tour along her property line where we found half-a-dozen inoperable vehicles. Burch says since 2007 she has been in contact numerous times with Madison City Code Enforcement officials to try to get the issue cleaned up – an issue she says has persisted through 3 Madison mayors.

“They say, ‘it’s out of our hands – we can only go so far – our hands are kinda tied by the city rules,’ excuse me?!” Burch puzzles.

Burch says it’s not just the aesthetics of her neighbor’s property that are bothering her.

“Well, there are rodents coming in from over there,” she says. “We’ve had snakes to come in, I’ve seen opossum racing to get away from there – I wouldn’t want to be there either,” Burch jokes.

We spoke with Madison Director of Building Jimmy Morgan who confirmed with a city code enforcement officer that the property owner, Bruce Dansby, had in fact been previously cited, fined and taken to court over issues with his yard.

Morgan says they often have to deal with repeat offenders who go right back to the same behavior after they have been asked to fix a situation. Morgan explains resource limitations obviously prevent the city from keeping regular checks on properties they have already addressed. He says Burch needs to submit another complaint to the city so they can come revisit the yard in question.

“Yes absolutely,” Morgan says. “We are always able to answer those types of calls. We do appreciate any type of extra information or the ability to meet with someone and be on their property to be able to view what their viewing.”

Of course, part of Burch’s frustration is that she says she’s already done that. She says she was told some time ago a code enforcement officer would come scope out the property, but that he found no violations.

“I feel like I’m getting patted on my head, you know it’s like, ‘don’t worry about it, little girl,’ – you live here,” exclaimed Burch in response to the run-a-round she says she has been getting.

Despite her frustrations, Burch says she will go back to the drawing board and submit yet another complaint. After all, she says, her requests are simple:

“I want that truck gone, I want all those inoperable vehicles out of here, I want that back yard cleaned up,” Burch says matter-of-factly. “I’m not the only one who sees it.”

Madison City code stipulates inoperable vehicles must be parked/stored on a paved driveway and covered with a car cover. Code also states inoperable vehicles cannot be parked /stored on public streets.

The maintenance of land provision for the city of Madison reads all land shall be maintained free from any accumulation of garbage, litter, debris, blight or deterioration – and that it’s considered a violation for any person to permit grass and weeds to grow to a height in excess of 12 inches on any premises or lot owned by such person within the city.