By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — City officials are eyeing two properties as blight concerns.
Veronica Fraser and Peggy Brennan live in the 15000 block of Cleveland Street. They aren’t asking for special treatment, only for the city employees to do their job, a complaint Fraser has made since before 2006.
“We just want them to enforce the ordinances,” Fraser said Thursday.
Fraser and Brennan have a “lovely” elderly neighbor who doesn’t take care of her yard.
“I’m just trying to keep (tall weeds and a rusty fence) off my property,” Fraser said of her neighbor’s spilling problems Thursday. “The weeds are the size of trees. And once you cut them they profusely grow back.”
Councilman Dennis Hayes, his wife and son spent a day last summer cutting the woman’s chest-high weeds, trimming the fence line and clearing away debris, something Fraser has also done in previous years.
Yet, Fraser, who’s husband died last year, finds the task daunting and just wants city employees to enforce the laws.
Mayor William Matakas said Fraser and Brennan need to fill out a complaint form found in the city clerk’s office and the city administrator will investigate within five days.
Hayes said it is sad the women have to come back year after year to address the council about the same issue.
“These people have written and rewritten,” Hayes said, “and for the want of some stupid complaint form we’re telling them, “You’re going to have to rewrite again?’
“For God’s sake, these people (council) have known about this for six months. (City Engineer Dave Boomer) has known about this for years. All we have to do is send some crews out there, hire a landscaper …”
At that point, Matakas cut off Hayes.
“You’re out of order, Mr. Hayes,” Matakas said, pounding his gavel. “You’re out of order.”
To which Hayes replied to Matakas, “Excuse me, you’re out of order.”
A second property in the 17000 block of Philomene Boulevard also is under scrutiny.
Neighbors called city police recently when they saw a woman burying an animal in her backyard, an offense against the city ordinance. The offense led to charges in district court.
During a 24th District Court arraignment last week Judge Richard Page told the woman to get professional help and she could have the weekend to clean up the property. Police Chief James Wilkewitz said the woman attempted to access the property, but was denied because she hadn’t yet sought professional help.
“The police restricted her from entering the home,” Hayes said. “There’s some type of ‘Who’s on first’ problem here.”
Councilman Bob Keenan questioned who will pay for the property cleanup. City Administrator Karen Folks said the property owner will either pay or surrender the house for a lien.
“It is a unique and unfortunate situation,” Wilkewitz said. “I’m certainly sympathetic to all the neighbors.”
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at [email protected].)