MONROVIA, Ala. (WHNT) – Shane Hall lives just at the entrance to Monrovia Meadows subdivision on Round Top Drive. Hall says he has seen the property directly across the street go from an empty lot, to a newly constructed home in 2005, to a foreclosed house he says hasn’t been touched in 2 years. That’s also how long Hall has been trying deal with what he says has become a public nuisance.
“I look at this house and there are birds that fly in and out of the eaves upstairs. This just totally attracts rodents and snakes; this grass hasn’t been cut in months. This is horrible here,” says Hall. “It’s a nuisance and an eyesore.”
Since the home was foreclosed and the former owner moved to Denver in 2011, Hall says he has taken several avenues to resolve the issue. Then Madison County District 4 Commissioner Dale Strong referred Hall to then-county administrator Howard Bates who told Hall the county had no legal authority to intervene on private property overgrowth. He also contacted the Alabama Department of Public Health to no avail, he says – even reaching out to realtors at Keller Hall Realty and mortgage lenders JPMorgan Chase & Co. – again, with no results.
We took action 2 weeks ago by bringing the issue to the attention of current district 4 commissioner Phil Vandiver.
“It’s not a lack of desire on the county commission’s part to do this – we do want to help,” Vandiver says, “It’s a lack of ability, it’s a lack of the ordinances, it’s a lack of resolutions, there’s a lack of state law that allows us to do anything with grass issues or things like that.”
Vandiver explains State Representative Jim Patterson even sponsored legislation in 2013 to try to give counties more power over issues just like this one – but he says the legislature didn’t adopt the measure.
Vandiver pledged to call the real estate division of the property’s holding bank, JP Morgan. That call yielded results.
When we showed up, you couldn’t even walk down the home’s front sidewalk on account of all the brush and overgrowth; that path is now neatly manicured. The back yard in now defined instead of what looked like a vermin and rodent haven just two weeks ago.
Wednesday we learned a crew was t the property with a whirlwind of weed whackers, mowers and blowers. Shane Hall’s neighbor Gerald Flowers says he was as flabbergasted at the quick results as we were.
“I was surprised, I couldn’t believe it. I had to come out and look and I took a second look and said ‘wow,’ somebody finally came out doing something.”
With several neighbors including Hall and Flowers in the market to sell their homes, they aren’t the only Monrovia Meadows neighbors happy about the drastic change.
“Yes, I think they’re very happy that Shane brought this to their attention and I think everybody is pretty much satisfied,” Flowers says. “I hope whoever it belongs to will take notice now and try to keep it up a little.”