Neighborhood residents are up in arms over what they perceive as a blatant violation of the city’s nuisance laws. A plot of land, despite its zoning as a residential area, serves as a maintenance storage area for the adjacent Country Club at the Oaks, an allegedly messy bother to its neighbors.
Maintenance equipment, including lawn care equipment, sits on a cement slab at the forefront of the property.
No structure exists to house the equipment, which is visible from the street. An unused trailer also sits on the lot, which country club officials say contains the remnants of an unused refrigeration unit.
“This is our broken window,” said country club neighbor Paul Quinn, alluding to a quote from Police Chief Brian Guy, who said that nuisance epidemics often begin with a single broken window.
He said that when the country club moved into the neighborhood after purchasing Valley Oaks in early 2010, neighbors were willing to give the new golf course time to get acclimated to the new location.
“When you move you always have a few boxes to unpack,” Quinn said.
However, Quinn said that as time went on, the mess made during the move was never cleaned up. Unused trucks and equipment littered the lot for months, and the trailer parked on the property has not yet been moved. Eventually, neighbors began to complain to the city, believing that what Quinn called a “junkyard,” would bring down property values in the neighborhood.
The city has had frequent contact with country club management and has sent notices detailing the work that needs to be done to bring the property up to standards. Since then, the unused trucks have been removed and the equipment is no longer scattered about the property. But Carl Neumann, another country club neighbor, said that whatever improvements have been made to the lot are too few and took too long to accomplish.
“They did half of it and it took them three months to do it,” Neumann said. “Why don’t they do the rest?”
A July 11 deadline was given to fix the nuisances, a date Quinn said has come and gone with no change to the mess on the property. The letter, dated June 29, said that if the property was not cleaned up, contractors would be hired by the city to clean up the mess and citations could be issued. The letter also stated the country club’s time limit to appeal had expired.
Chris Vens, president of the country club board of directors, confirmed that an attorney has been retained to handle communications with the city. The area was already in disarray when the country club moved in, according to Vens, and that significant modifications have already been made.
“We’ve been continually trying to make improvements in the area,” Vens said. “What remains (on the property) doesn’t necessarily provide a nuisance.”
The trailer remains on the property because country club officials have been unable to determine what to do with it, Vens said. He said that he hoped the trailer could be repositioned in a more aesthetically pleasing way, until the country club is able to determine what to do with it.
Jim Bruhn, the attorney representing the country club, declined comment at this time.
However, it appears the city may no longer be interested in dealing. In an email obtained by the Herald from Paul Quinn, City Administrator Jeff Horne states that the city plans to move ahead with the normal process to address nuisances. Horne confirmed that he sent the email, and declined further comment.
If the city was to resume its normal process, Mike Harmon, Neighborhood and Building Services director, said that a notice would be posted at the property, giving two additional days to resolve the issue. At that point, if the nuisance remained, the city would contact contractors to come in and fix the issue.