The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

June 23, 2013

Letters to the Editor 6/23/13

Questions for mayor, council

Dear Editor:

To the mayor and Athens Public Works Department:

Questions regarding Athens’ unkempt properties and dilapidated buildings:

• What are the criteria used to give a citation for an overgrown property/yard vs. a dilapidated building?

• How extreme does the growth or dilapidation have to be before legal action is taken?

• What determines when a building or a property is more than just a public or an attractive nuisance and it becomes a true safety hazard to the general public?

• When is a citation given regarding one of the above conditions?

• How many properties and buildings within Athens city limits are in a citable condition?

• If a citation has been given by the city and then an owner takes out a permit to repair or rebuild a property, how long is the permit good for and is there a proof of performance with evidence of a satisfactory progress toward completion?

• What punitive actions can be taken if progress toward a correction is not made?

• How long can a deteriorating condition and a danger to the public be allowed to go on before further action is taken?

• What is the mayor’s office plan and what steps have been taken by the city in particular where the area of the Athens Square is concerned?

• What criteria determine when a property or building is more than just a nuisance and is truly a hazardous condition and jeopardizes public safety?

• What has the city done regarding businesses like the rear of Greenhaw’s Furniture on Madison Street across from the Kreme Delite that have scrap piled up behind them?

• How many vacant and run down buildings and properties that are in or surround the Athens Square area are in a citable condition?

• Are property owners within the Square area given special dispensation regarding these issues?

• How much budget has been set aside in 2013 to manage and correct these conditions?

• If Athens is to recruit additional retail businesses into the Square area should actions be taken and revenue expended to rid the city of the blighted areas and buildings?

• Are there a potential conflict of interests in regard to the city taking required legal action against the Athens Square area dilapidated buildings and properties considering, the relationship between certain individuals involved in the leadership of the Spirit Of Athens and other associated organizations and the Athens city attorney’s office?

Sincerely,

Ralph Diggins

Athens

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