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Vehicles to be removed from vacant properties

Q: What will happen to the junked vehicles left at the abandoned properties the city plans to clean up?

A: David Fearn, the city’s building inspector, said there is not a plan in place at this time to address the removal of vehicles left at some of the abandoned properties the Board of Aldermen voted to clean up beginning in September. The property owners will receive bills for the city’s work.

Several junk vehicles, including a bus and an RV, are parked at the abandoned house at 215 Railroad St.

Fearn said there is a vehicle ordinance in place, but it’s been a long time since it was updated.

“We’re not sure what we’re going to do with them,” he said.

Fearn plans to talk to the city attorney about the removal of the vehicles. He said the city does not have a suitable impound yard to store the vehicles.

Aldermen held a public meeting to address 28 properties in town that were deemed to be a menace to public health and safety.

They voted to remove at least 14 dilapidated houses and monitor the progress of 14 other properties.

Fearn said at the meeting that if the the board agrees and there is no objection or contact from the owner, the properties on the list will be cleaned up using the city’s equipment and manpower. A bill will be sent to the property owner, with penalties for non-payment such as a 25 percent fee and a property lien.

Fearn has not been able to get in touch with the owner at the Railroad Street property.

Several residents who live near that house voiced their concerns at the public hearing.

Tammie Brewer, who attended the meeting, is glad the city is doing something about the house, but she is concerned about the vehicles. She lives across the street from the property.

She said there is a bus and large RV parked there, with at least three other vehicles parked in the front yard and on the side of the house. Several more vehicles are behind the house “in the woods and brush has taken over.”

Brewer said the vehicles have been there for years.

“There are a couple of handicapped children on our block,” she said. “It would be a real tragedy if one of them were to get away from their parents and ended up trapped in one of those vehicles or that house.”

She said the neighbors next door to the house can’t see past the RV to back out of their driveway. “They now back in so they can see when they pull out,” she said.

She said the property owner moved out of the house in May or June last year “and just left all of his junk here.”

Brewer said she and her husband have been cleaning up their neighborhood since moving back to Brookhaven in 2001. “Everyone does a wonderful job of keeping their homes nice and clean except for him,” she said.