After being cited for outdoor storage of junk, a property on Browns Bridge Road has been cleaned up and the owner’s case was dismissed.
The property at 3039 Browns Bridge Road had a huge amount of junk in its driveway, lawn and backyard in August when the property owner was issued the citation. The mess was visible from the major road, and some neighbors had complained to the county, prompting the citation on Aug. 9. The mess started to accumulate after a tenant was evicted in late July.
“We normally try to cite the person making the mess, but if the tenant refuses to clean it up we could then address it with the property owner,” Hall County Marshal’s Office Capt. Barry Shaw said.
The owner, Johnnie Brooke, cleaned up the mess before a magistrate court hearing on Sept. 8 where the case was dismissed. Brooke declined to comment when approached by the Times after the hearing.
Shaw said that in cases like these, there is typically more lenience when the property owner makes good faith attempts to clean up the property before it goes to court. It would also cost a significant amount to have the property cleaned up, which could factor into a decision on cases like these, Shaw said. The citation can carry a maximum fine of $1,000.
The code states it is unlawful to “place, abandon, leave, keep or store junk and salvage material, including non-functioning motor vehicles, appliances, machinery… out of doors upon any public or private land … All such materials shall be stored in such manner that will preclude the harborage of rodents and insects.”
Shaw said Brooke called the marshal’s office last week to explain her situation and let them know that she was working on cleaning up the mess. Because of the size of the mess, it took her some time to get people and equipment together to remove everything, Shaw said.
Tenants at the property have been cited two other times in the past four years, but Shaw said repeated complaints don’t necessarily mean the marshal will be more harsh when responding to complaints.
“We try to be reasonable and not have a hard-fast rule and try to give people the opportunity to clean up their mess,” Shaw said. “Compliance is the goal.”