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Residents complain about neighboring properties

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By Brent Schanding

Welcome to Longview Drive‚ a modest street tucked just off Eminence Pike, lined with neatly kept frame and ranch-style homes.  Neighbors there say they like the area...for the most part.

They're discontented, however, about what they call a growing problem of garbage and junk. A neighbor's back porch was the graveyard for a broken refrigerator, according to one Longview resident, while a truck-bed topper doubled as a doghouse. Down the street, a van had become a dumpster for at least a dozen bags of garbage.   

A majority of Longview residents agree some local properties -- mostly rental housing and crumbling commercial spaces -- are eyesores and encroach on their livelihoods. Most say they detour to Boone Station Road to avoid the blighted area.

"The area from 7th Street to the [Clear Creek] park and towards Eminence Pike is embarrassing. This is our gateway to the park, where people from all over come to play ball," a group of Longview residents wrote in a letter to The Sentinel-News. "Some paint, yard work and pride in your neighborhoods isn't too much to ask of the property owners or tenants. It isn't fair to the rest of this community to have to live in neglect. Take some pride in the county you live in."

County officials investigated blight claims in the neighborhood last August, and Kathy Ranard, coordinator and enforcement officer of Shelby County's Clean Community Program, said citations were issued. She said property owners were able to bring the violations up to compliance standards, but neighbors claim those corrective measures weren't good enough.

Sandy Roberts, a Longview resident told The Sentinel-News one of the properties still houses at least a dozen bags of garbage in its back yard.

"That was there last fall when they supposedly checked it out," she said. "It is a dumping ground for rodents."

Roberts said the eyesores not only detract from the appeal of her neighborhood, but they could deter potential homebuyers from relocating to the area. Roberts was one of at least 29 area residents who signed a petition to clean up the area.  The petitioners are appealing to Ranard and Shelby County Magistrate, Alan Ruble, who represents the area,  to act swiftly. 

"All landlords, and in some case 'slumlords,' should be made to check and take care of their properties. If they were in their neighborhoods, or around our officials' neighborhoods, would they get this bad?" they wrote in  a letter to the officials.  

Ranard said as of Thursday morning no new claims had been officially filed against properties near Longview.

"If I don't get a complaint I can't do anything about it," she said. "I have the whole county [to enforce], and it's just me."

Recurring problems require follow-up complaints, she said.  However, Ranard indicated Thursday she had re-assessed the situation at the request of The Sentinel-News and will cite at least one property for what she called an 'accumulation of refuse.'"