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Old 08-22-2012, 11:55 AM
Location: Petticoat Junction
930 posts, read 1,744,767 times
Reputation: 1511


I don't have an obligation to maintain my neighbor's property values.
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:10 PM
Location: Huntsville
468 posts, read 815,129 times
Reputation: 294
Default Absolutely but ...

I fully agree... but we don't live in a vacuum.

There are minimum standards of habitable living conditions that need to be met.
All homes - need to be safely accessible in the event of an emergency or by utility personnel.

The argument now - is - does the home meet the minimum standards of safety, accessibility and healthy living conditions?

If the city / state did not define what the minimum standards are - then the city/state has no business with that property. Those standards should be explicit and measurable ---- not esoteric, philosophical and vague.
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:47 AM
Location: Huntsville native
856 posts, read 2,164,737 times
Reputation: 503
It was mentioned that this resident is a full-on hippie. I guess the peace sign above the door could be a giveaway. It reminds me of a similar situation with an uncle of mine who is a hippie. In the 80s he owned a home in the city of Los Angeles in a community that was unusually rural looking for such an urban area. It was in the foothills of the Sunland/Tujunga area in case any of you are familiar with the area. He too was supposedly into this "natural landscape" concept and let his home grow up to the point you could not see it from the road. My aunt (who was divorced from him) used to ask me to ride up there with her to pick up her son because she was scared to go up there. When we would pull into the driveway, my uncle would run down the driveway and tell us to not drive up any closer and would send my cousin walking down the driveway to meet us. Years later, LAPD raided that house and found he had grown a pretty extensive little pot farm in his backyard. Luckily for him, California being as laid back as it is with marijuana laws, he got off pretty easy. But he did end up losing his house. Just thought I'd share...
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:06 PM
4,740 posts, read 9,339,079 times
Reputation: 4160
There's another yard just around the corner from Hessler on Ward Ave. that is "overgrown", but in a more planned manner using specimen plants (except for a Mimosa tree, which really doesn't belong); I wonder if the City will want to cut their yard...

A Madison County judge has sided with the City of Huntsville in a legal fight involving an overgrown yard in the Five Points neighborhood

Circuit Judge Jim Smith ruled this morning that records from the Huntsville City Council's July 10 meeting supported the council's unanimous decision to declare James Hessler's yard a public nuisance.
Judge: Records support Huntsville City Council declaring Five Points yard a public nuisance | al.com

Hessler has a ramshackle shed in his front/side yard (it's a street corner); when the yard gets cut the shed will be in full public view - trading one eyesore for another.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:18 PM
4,740 posts, read 9,339,079 times
Reputation: 4160

...the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals rejected James Hessler's request for a new hearing in a case that began in July 2012, when the Huntsville City Council declared the property at 1320 Pratt Ave. a public nuisance.

...a Madison County Circuit Court judge and the state Court of Civil Appeals have both declined to block the city from enforcing its landscaping plan. Hessler has the right to appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.

According to the nuisance abatement plan, Hessler's yard is "virtually neglected, unmaintained and undisturbed" with the exception of a few narrow paths. City officials say that makes it a potential breeding ground for mice, snakes, mosquitoes and other vermin.

The cheapest option is clear-cutting all saplings and plants less than 6 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter, officials said. Invasive species such as Chinese privet, English ivy and honeysuckle would have to go. And the city would grind stumps or remove root systems to keep unwanted trees from growing back.

...If Hessler chooses not to appeal the latest court setback, the city would give him the option of hiring his own contractor to carry out the landscaping plan. Otherwise, the city would bring in a tree-trimming service and send Hessler the bill, said Benion.
I support Hessler to a point - the City is not a HOA and shouldn't make landscaping decisions for a homeowner. However, Hessler allows overgrowth on the fire hydrant in his yard and IMO this is a valid concern for the City. Also, Hessler is on a corner lot and the overgrowth blocks driver's views - another valid concern (and a violation of current City ordinance).
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:14 PM
34 posts, read 40,663 times
Reputation: 42
Other than some public safety concerns like the fire hydrant and driver visibility, I support Hessler's right to do what he wants with his own property. I've passed his house numerous times and never really thought anything of it. Not my taste, but it's also not my house.

I've seen a whole lot of city property with invasive species' on it. Where is the city's urge to be sure that is cut back? Do we think the woods just up the hill and Monte Sano might be a breeding ground for all kinds of things, too?

If I were Hessler and the city clear cut my property, I'd probably paint the house bright pink and lime green.
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:39 PM
Location: Madison, AL
1,782 posts, read 2,951,280 times
Reputation: 686
Yeah, still hard to side with the city.

I have seen his house numerous times. I mean the neighborhood is a patchwork, but they are trying to gentrify the historic bits at least. I also completely understand their desire to do such.

But as it falls, they should trim the hydrant and leave his remaining property as it is.

It's his property and he can do what he wants.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:11 PM
44 posts, read 52,939 times
Reputation: 51
I think they should tell us all how to keep our yards. The government knows what is best for us and just think of how pretty and consistent it would be.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:18 PM
1,420 posts, read 2,815,020 times
Reputation: 2246
Let him do whatever he wants to his hard. No HOA there.

Those who want their property values to hold or increase move to HOA neighborhoods.
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:25 AM
4,740 posts, read 9,339,079 times
Reputation: 4160
UPDATE: The City of Huntsville is cleaning up the yard:

A Five Points yard that city officials have described as the most overgrown in Huntsville is getting a serious trim.

City landscape crews on Wednesday morning began enforcing a two-year old order to remove the tangle of vines, shrubs and branches that had almost completely hidden James Hessler's home at 1320 Pratt Ave.
Huntsville forcibly cuts Five Points yard said to be the most overgrown in city | AL.com

I took a picture this morning (keep in mind that the City will be billing Hessler for the costs of cleanup):

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