Weaver residents tired of eyesore trying to get man to clean up property
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Apr 06, 2013 | 13154 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Non-running tractors in a Weaver man's yard have become sore spot for his neighbors who have to see them all the time. (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
Non-running tractors in a Weaver man's yard have become sore spot for his neighbors who have to see them all the time. (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
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WEAVER — From his back porch on Woodlock Lane Friday, Greg Pierce looked over his yard and across the street at a property he described as looking like the fallout after a bomb explosion.

Although Weaver officials have asked Jim Stone to remove a collection of about 30 inoperable tractors from his property on Parker Boulevard, as well as clean up land adjacent to his house where he knocked down two acres of trees and left most of the debris, Pierce said he can see plain as day from his back window that his neighbor hasn’t complied.

“I don’t need to spy on Mr. Stone,” Pierce said. “You can hardly do anything without seeing it.”

Pierce’s complaints, along with those of many of his neighbors in the Shannon Hills subdivision of Weaver, have City Hall watching Stone’s property as well. For the last two months, residents have shown up in force at Weaver City Council meetings to demand to know what the city plans to do with the nuisance property they say is ruining the neighborhood.

“It looks like a tornado just came through the area,” said Glenda Curry, Stone’s next-door neighbor. “It’s just a mess.”

Weaver Mayor Wayne Willis said he talked to Stone in March and reached an agreement: Stone would remove 10 tractors from his yard that week and then they’d discuss moving another 10.

“Well, he didn’t do that,” Willis said Thursday. “So we wrote him a letter saying you have 30 days to remove all the violations, and if you don’t, you’ll be cited, and you’ll have to go to court.”

The law is clear on the tractors, Willis said. Because most of them are unlicensed and not drivable, city code says they can’t be parked on a resident’s lawn.

“We have to work on a complaint basis,” Willis said, saying the city doesn’t have enough staff to work on all the nuisance violations in the city. “I sympathize with these people that this is an eyesore and something needs to be done.”

But what one calls an eyesore, another calls a treasure. Stone said Friday he’s been collecting and working on the tractors in his yard since a heart attack nearly a decade ago forced him to retire and get a hobby.

“It’s something to look forward to when I get up in the morning,” said Stone, who’s lived in Weaver since 1988. “Some people retire, they sit around and die a few years later. If I didn’t have these tractors I’d probably be dead too.”

Stone said he’s listening to the city and has compiled with the regulations, but he can only do so much at one time. As for the treeless two acres of land he just purchased, Stone said he cleaned the area for safety and aesthetic purposes, getting rid of what he called “nothing but a vermin thicket.”

“These people don’t live here so they don’t know,” Stone said, explaining that snakes and raccoons regularly got into his yard before he cleared the wooded area. “I got grandkids who come here. I don’t want them to be bit by a snake.”

Stone said the downed timber will likely be gone before the year is over, and he’d like to terrace the sloped land.“It’s my property and I want it to look nice,” Stone said. “I could see if I just knocked it down and left it there. But I’m going to get rid of it. I just can’t do it overnight.”

Pierce said if Stone follows through with his plans, he would have no problem with a cleared terraced slope. He’s just not holding his breath.

“People might ask, ‘Well what do the tractors have to do with the land?’” he said. “The correlation is, if he’s not doing what he said he’d do with the tractors, why should we believe he’s going to do what he said about the land?”

Willis said Stone will have to maintain the land he’s cleared, but there’s nothing the city can do about him clearing the property.

“That’s his property,” Willis said. “I have to respect his right to do what he wants with it.”

Even if that means it’s going to cost the city. The backside of the land Stone cleared along Timree Street is a steep decline right where the road ends. Willis estimates a guardrail for driver safety will end up costing the city about $3,000.

Still, some residents don’t think what the mayor and council are doing will be enough.

“So he gets cited, is that a slap on the wrist?” Curry said. “I just don’t see what that’s going to do.”

Pierce, who campaigned last year for Willis, said he wants to give the council reasonable time to handle the issue, but said he too could lose patience if nothing happens.

“They’re doing a good job and they don’t deserve this problem,” Peirce said about Weaver’s officials. “But it is their problem now.”

Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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