Neighbors take woes to boardPublished 12:02am Tuesday, October 2, 2012
NATCHEZ — A dispute between neighbors about an alleged nuisance property resulted in raised voices in front of the Adams County Board of Supervisors Monday, and in the end no resolution was reached.
Monica Smith, who lives at 179 Morgantown Road, approached the supervisors about an empty house trailer her neighbors — collectively, the Bernard family — had parked on the edge of their property, which is 11 feet from her front door. The windows are broken out and it’s a breeding ground for vermin, including several large snakes that have been killed, Smith said.
Smith said she bought the property from foreclosure four years ago, and two days after she had the house appraised the trailer was parked in front of it. The parcel Smith purchased was part of the Bernard family property before foreclosure and is bordered by subdivided lots owned by the family.
“I think the whole thing is they wanted it directly in front of my house,” Smith said. “I think they were really angry when I bought the house, because I bought it in foreclosure.”
The owner of the trailer — but not the lot on which it is parked — is Terry Bernard, who said he has plans to fix it up so his son can live in it. The plan from the beginning was to fix up the trailer for his son, and only the results of bad timing and bad luck have stopped him from fixing it in previous years.
Bernard said he plans to put windows in it soon and make the structure livable again.
“That (location) is where my son wanted the trailer,” Bernard said. “I didn’t make the suggestion to put the trailer in that spot. The best thing I can do now is clean it up.”
Moving the trailer won’t make a difference about the vermin in the area, Bernard said, because a bayou borders Smith’s house.
“I go in that trailer all the time, and I have never seen a snake in it,” he said.
The supervisors asked Bernard if he could move the trailer to another place on the lot that was not directly in front of Smith’s house until it could be property repaired — Supervisor Mike Lazarus pointed out the move could be done with a pickup truck — but Bernard said it was not possible for him at the current time.
Bernard’s sister, Rita Brooks, said the supervisors had no business looking into the matter, and Board Attorney Scott Slover said the board does have the authority to do so when a structure can be deemed to be a public safety hazard.
“The young lady chose to move there, and she chose to live there,” Brooks said, heatedly. “She had the right to rescind that property, but she bought it anyway.
“We don’t have time to pacify (Smith) and her family — if you don’t like the property, move!”
When President Darryl Grennell said the meeting was not a forum for raised voices, Brooks responded, “This is a calculated move to get something (the Smiths) want that they are not going to get. If (the trailer) falls down, another one is going right back up in the same place, maybe two or three that are bigger.”
Before the supervisors could make a decision about the property, however, Brooks told them that while Bernard owned the trailer, he did not own the lot on which it was located.
The supervisors delayed making the decision to abate the property until the proper landowner could be notified about the nuisance property abatement proceedings.
In other news:
• Grennell signed the interlocal fire agreement between the county and the City of Natchez’s governments.
The agreement includes a provision that requires both the city and the county to meet by Jan. 15 to start the development of a long-range, countywide fire plan.
• The board authorized Slover to look into the legality of the board donating $500 toward a traveling war memorial exhibit that will be coming to Adams County in November.
• The board appointed Michael Zachary Jex to the Southwest Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority.
Jex will take the place of Ken Herring, who resigned his position on the board.
• Lazarus suggested the possibility that the board use the proceeds generated from harvesting wood on the site of the former Belwood Country Club to plant trees in other parts of the county.
“Since we are cutting down trees, we can put it back into trees,” Lazarus said.
• The board approved a recommendation from county tower inspector Spencer Stutzman that they allow Verizon to replace three antennas and one dish on a tower on U.S. 61 South.
The replacements will improve cellular coverage in the south of the county and will enhance Verizon’s 4G footprint in the area, Stutzman said.