By David Howell
SYLVA RENA – A hearing is scheduled on May 1 in response to a pair of petitions filed with the county requesting the county clean up private property straddling the entrance of Pine Ridge Circle in the Water Valley Boat Landing Community.
The petitions were each signed by 16 people who live in the neighborhood and state that the properties are in such a state of uncleanliness that they are a nuisance to the public health, safety and welfare of the community. The paperwork was filed in the Chancery Clerk’s office earlier in the month and follow months of conversation as supervisors worked to identify a legal avenue to clean up junky properties that pose a health hazard in the county.
The petitions were addressed in a recessed meeting held Tuesday in Coffeeville, and supervisors set the hearing to allow the property owners, Carol Holland and Dorothy Holland, opportunity to defend the allegations. Citing Section 19-5-105 of Mississippi Code, Board Attorney John Crow explained last month that supervisors could act upon a petition from the public or on their own accord to clean up property by cutting weeds, filling cisterns, removing rubbish, dilapidated fences. Crow also explained that the property owners must be notified and evidence will be weighed in a hearing before supervisors take action. Crow also said costs incurred by the county for cleanup can be assessed to the property taxes.
“Those 16 people live in and around the neighborhood where the property exists,” District 3 Supervisor Lee McMinn explained as Crow questioned the proximity of the petitioners in relation to the property to ensure the legal requirements spelled out in state law are met.
Next Crow asked about the condition of the property.
“Is it just a pile of debris?” Crow asked.
“It is way past that,” McMinn answered. “There are at least two dilapidated mobile homes, there are at least three cars, one of which is on my right-of-way. When we bush hog, we have to go around it,” McMinn explained. McMinn also said he approached the owners shortly after taking office in 2011 with an offer to help them clean up the property using grant money the county receives to address illegal dumps in the county.
“They ordered me to never come back to the property again,” McMinn said.