Complaints spur talk of nuisance ordinance

By Nancy Lindsey
The Stuart Town Council discussed the possibility of activating its nuisance ordinance after hearing citizen complaints at the June 15 meeting.
Anne Hall, accompanied by her husband, Larry Hall, told the council that their neighbor’s property on Hillcrest Street is “not just unsightly, it’s filthy.”
Hall said she has seen at least one wharf-rat, but is afraid to put out rat poison because it could harm her dogs, and she accused her neighbor of trying to poison one of her dogs. There has also been fighting and broken windows (on the neighbor’s property), she said.
Hall said Town Manager Terry Tilley had “helped us tremendously” in coping with the problems.
Hall acknowledged that one problem has improved, because the neighbor does not block the Halls’ vehicles with his vehicles when he mows his yard.
Mayor Ray Weiland said the town has some ordinances that could be used. He said another town resident had put up “no parking” signs along his street, but in the Halls’ case the neighbor is apparently not blocking the street.
Hall said she and her husband have erected fences and planted Leland cypresses in an effort to cut off the view. “That corner is absolutely filthy,” she said.
Town Attorney Chris Corbett said there are “longtime blight issues” in the town of Stuart. In cases where dilapidated houses and overgrown yards have become violations of health and safety laws, the town has the authority to take over the property, do the necessary work, and charge the property-owner for the work, he said.
The house on Park Street was one example of blight abatement undertaken by the town. Another current example of blight is the deteriorating old house next to Hardee’s, Corbett has said.
Corbett said he and Tilley will look into the situation.
“We will investigate it,” Weiland said.
In other matters at the town council meeting:
The mayor appointed a committee composed of himself, Tilley, Vice Mayor Rebecca Adcock and John “Mac” Deekens to evaluate the proposals for designing the improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.
The Lane Group (formerly Adams and Heath) submitted the lowest bid, Tilley said.
Tilley said the new Christmas lights will be paid out of both the 2016 and 2017 budgets.
Eddie Turner of the Lane Group (formerly a mayor of the town of Stuart) said he, Adcock, and Tilley visited Galax on June 14 to see how the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) “Safe Routes for Schools Program” has been used there.
There are new sidewalks, painted crosswalks, signage and bike lanes and facilities, Turner said. Charles Cauley of Patrick County was the low bidder and completed the project, he said.
The project, which the town is considering applying for, is funded 80% state and 20% local, Turner said.
The council voted to award the bid for air conditioning at the wastewater treatment plant lab to the low bidder, Hydro Air, for $3,800.
Adcock reported that there the town budget has $2,400 remaining in its contributions line, and recommended that the board allocate $1,000 to the Caring Hearts Free Clinic and $1,000 to the Patrick County Community Food Bank.
Adcock’s motion passed 4-1, with council members Terry Dalton, Deekens, Leon Puckett and Adcock voting in favor. Dean Goad voted against the motion.

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