Fighting for You: Homeowner Abandons Home, City Orders Her To Court

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Several people in south Huntsville are having issues with a home in their neighborhood. One woman contacted WHNT NEWS 19 about an abandoned home on her street. The says the yard is overgrown and serving as a breeding ground for wild animals. Jean Walters emailed WHNT NEWS 19's Venton Blandin to see what he could do to get the yard cleaned up.


The yard next door to Walters' home and outside her neighbor's door is undesirable to many on Pentolope Drive. No one has lived in the home for three years. Walters has tried telling city leaders about the mess, but got nowhere. Walters believes the yard poses a danger to small children and pets. She wants it all cleared away.


"We found this place and loved it, so it is great," said Walters.


Walters has lived in a couple of places in south Huntsville, but nothing compares to her place on Pentolope Drive.


"You know, 43 years is a long time to invest and have something happen to make you want to leave. If you can't get something resolved, then maybe we have to think about that," added Walters.


The home next door to Walters' and what's going on with its owners are making Walters think about leaving.


"They are not taking care of their house, the property or the house. It's just really awful," added Walters.


It all comes down to what's moving around in the bushes.


"I've seen snakes. My neighbors have seen snakes and armadillos," added Walters.


Walters likes animals, so is not afraid. The grandmother is more concerned about what the wild animals can do to others.


"When you have animals of your own, like little dogs that can't protect themselves and grandchildren that run around, you just don't want to have that," added Walters.


The issue for Walters started almost three years ago. The people who lived next door to Walters moved away, but did not sell the home. They abandoned the home. The grass and bushes around the home started growing. No one took the time to spruce it up.


"I've called the city and told them what the problem was. I know there is an ordinance. They said they would take care of it," added Walters.


Walters saw the homeowner return a couple of times over the last few years.


"They did it a little bit, but did not clean it up. They did a little bit just to get by, I think," added Walters.


Walters has had enough. She contacted me.


"I've been watching WHNT NEWS 19 for a while. I've seen you on television and have seen things that you've done," added Walters.


Venton Blandin decided to take Walters' concern to the Community Development Office at Huntsville's city hall. He discovered there's an outstanding junk and litter notice on the property. The office's interim director said the responsible party did not comply and was issued a citation to appear in municipal court. The case has been continued until August 22, 2012.


John Tomlin hopes a judge can make the homeowner clean up the mess.


"I think it is ridiculous. They should rent the house, sell the house, keep it up or do something. You don't just abandon a house for three years," said Tomlin.


The judge overseeing the hearing can fine the homeowner or give the person more time to get the yard cleaned.

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