A West Jefferson resident says a property adjacent to his home has been kept in poor condition for a nearly a decade, despite his complaints to village officials, and the issue is now affecting his own property value.
Ron Manring addressed village council at its regular meeting Monday.
“The village has been issuing citations to this guy since 2006,” he told council members. “The property has still not been brought up to standard.”
The property in question is located at 300 W. Main St., where he said the grass is rarely mowed, among other issues.
Manring said the value of his property, located next door, has decreased from $190,000 to $147,000. Thinking it was a mistake, he said he went to the Madison County Auditor’s Office, where he found out it was not.
Manring said he was told by the auditor’s office that the properties were appraised, and poor maintenance of properties in the neighborhood was a factor in the drop in value.
The property is owned by Greg Moyer, according to the auditor’s website.
Manring said continuous complaints have been filed against the owner for the past nine years, including several instances where the village has mowed the property.
He told council there was a verbal agreement in 2011 between village attorney Ron Parsons and Moyer. But, the agreement was ineffective.
“Here we are, four years later, still nothing done,” Manring said. “I talked to (Arnie Booth, building and zoning inspector) about it. I wrote to the mayor about it. What does it take to get something done?”
Parsons, who was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting, was not available for comment Tuesday.
Manring said he would have no choice but to pursue legal action if no steps are taken, as he could potentially sell the property next year.
“I’m not going to lose $40,000 or $50,000 when I sell that property — I’ll assure you of that,” he said. “Just because of negligence on his part, and in my opinion, on the part of the village. Because it’s been nine years now.”
Booth said Tuesday that he is trying to keep the property mowed and maintained, and he sent out workers Tuesday to mow.
“We’re just trying to just maintain grass and junk around it,” Booth said. “How we proceed, that’s going to be up to the mayor and our legal department.”
Booth noted that reaching the owner is regularly difficult.
Council vice president Steve Johnston said the village should do something to remedy the situation, and he thinks the property should eventually be torn down.
“We’ve gone around this for years and years and years and it comes up every year, so I think now is the time to do something about it,” Johnston said. “If that requires us to find some other legal direction… then we need to do it.”
Council president Ron Garver thanked Manring for bringing it back to the village’s attention. Garver said Tuesday that Mayor Darlene Steele and Booth would look into the matter further.
Though property issues often take a lot of time to solve, Garver said he understood Manring’s concerns.
“It’s (an issue) that shouldn’t have lasted this long,” Garver said.
Brandon Semler can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @BrandonSemler.