Cumberland County’s Health and Safety Standards Board will move forward with its first of two different complaints relating to garbage and debris piling up on a privately owned properties.

The first complaint relates to property on Springwater Circle where a trailer has burned down and debris has been piling up for months. The property was previously abandoned and dilapidated. The board had sent a letter of violation to the property owner who had not yet responded when the trailer burned down.

“I think we’re better of handling this as debris now and starting from scratch,” Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner and HSSB chairwoman, said.

The committee unanimously agreed to send out a letter of complaint and give the property owner until Feb. 7 to respond.

The second complaint was regarding property on Dublin Dr. in the Breckenridge subdivision.

Hyder said, according to the complaint, there are tires, cars, concrete blocks and other items piling up on the property.

“Some of it may even be in the county road right of way,” Hyder said.

Board member Bobby Rhea suggested the committee have the county road superintendent look at the property and determine if the debris is in the right of way.

County Attorney Philip Burnett agreed and said it might be a good idea to handle the complaint that way to start.

Committee member Tom Isham, moved to have the county send a letter of complaint to the property owner and give them until Feb. 7 to respond to the complaint.

Craig Clark supported the motion. It was approved, but Rhea voted against the motion.

“I think the road superintendent needs to go out there first,” he said.

The committee also unanimously approved procedures for filing a complaint with the board. 

It was unanimously approved.

In order to come under the jurisdiction of the board, a home must be dilapidated and abandoned, and a complaint must be filed and signed by three separate property owners who are within 150 yards of the home. 

Once a property is reported, the board determines if there is a legitimate complaint. If so, the board typically sends a letter of notification to the property owner, requesting they clean up the property. If nothing is done to clean up the property the board sends a notice of violation and gives the property owner 30 days to respond.

If no response is made, depending on the situation, the legal process is engaged and the county ultimately has the ability to legally seize the property, clean up the property and sell the property in order to recoup the costs associated with the clean up.

To regulate the accumulation of garbage and debris, the county’s policy states accumulation of debris, trash, litter or garbage means any combination of elements in such a significant amount that it causes an offensive smell or odor to a neighboring property, the attraction of flies, rats, vermin or other harmful nuisance animals, or the likelihood of harmful substances polluting ground water, local streams or bodies of water, or an extreme nuisance or annoyance to other properties in the vicinity is considered hazardous.

The resolution states, “The accumulation of debris, trash, litter or garbage must be present on the property for at least 60 days to meet the definition. The accumulation of debris, trash, litter or garbage does not include the accumulation of elements or substances natural to the local environment such as timber, brush, rock or soil or the accumulation of any of these elements that are part of a legitimate agricultural operation.”

The committee will meet again on Feb. 19 to continue discussions.

Gary Nelson may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com

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