Lot cleanup update given

Published 4:19 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Derelict property, junk cars and chickens: city aldermen had quality of life control on their minds Tuesday night.

     Building Inspector Chip Gennaro reported to the board on the status of lot cleanup under way in the city. He said about 10 or 12 lots have been cleaned up from a list that originally included 21 properties.

     Heavy rains in the recent week have delayed further action against the remaining properties, but work can resume in dry weather, Gennaro said.

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     Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes inquired whether the city may prevent a parking problem she’s noticed.

     “I am seeing lots of automobiles parked on lawns,” Estes said. “It’s pretty unsightly.”

     City Attorney Joe Fernald said the city’s current ordinance only applies to junk or abandoned cars and further explained that many houses in the Brookhaven area were not designed to accommodate more than two cars.

     “It was not anticipated the American dream would include three- and four- car families,” Fernald said.

     Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron then went on to share with the board complaints he’s received about the condition of the former Stahl Urban manufacturing plant located on Main Street. The city owns the site, but portions of it are rented out.

     “If that’s our property, we need to set an example and clean it up,” Cameron said.

     Ward Three Alderman Mary Wilson then said she’s received reports of roosters waking up residents in her ward. She wanted to know how many roosters and chickens Brookhaven residents are allowed within the city.

     Fernald deferred to Police Chief Pap Henderson.

     “That’s four, any combination,” Henderson said. “It could be three hens and one rooster or three roosters and one hen.”

     Fernald deemed the latter combination unwise.

     “That sounds like a fight,” Fernald said, laughing.

     In other business, aldermen further delayed action on a proposal to borrow up to $4 million to renovate and expand city water and sewer lines. They scheduled a work session for July 24 at 11 a.m. to discuss the subject. WKG engineer Mike McKenzie told board members if they don’t take action in about a week, they will start missing deadlines for a major potential source of loan financing.

     Board members also agreed to discuss redistricting of city ward lines at the July 24 work session.

     “I think time is slipping away,” said Mayor Les Bumgarner. “I think by the first August board meeting we need to have an agreement, even if it’s an agreement to disagree.”