Bradley County to Deal With Overgrown Property

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN. (WDEF-TV) – Many homeowners know the frustration of keeping their property up–and living near someone who doesn’t.
A Bradley county commissioner who raised the issue a couple of weeks ago says he’s had an overwhelming response from residents who want something done.

TERRY CAYWOOD, BRADLEY CO.COMMISSIONER "When I saw how high that was, I knew there was no way you could mow it with a lawnmower."

Bradley County commissioner Terry Caywood wants to tighten the ordinance a bit. He wants to find a way to get people to clean up unsightly…and unhealthy
property like this.

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TERRY CAYWOOD "An old wheel barrow, an old desk…that’s another violation but they all come under the same ordinance."

Cleveland has a stronger law based on how high the growth is..but the county’s problems are a little more complicated.

TERRY CAYWOOD "If you live out in the country and you’ve got 25 acres of property around you and you want to raise a hayfield …you want to go more than 16 inches…you may have your hay up shoulder high."

Ralph Lester is retired and living next to this abandoned home with overgrown property on Gregory Street. A good samaritan helps him.

RALPH LESTER, NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR "..he likes to mow, and he said God is trying…God has told him to help people."

That same helper would mow this property, but its padlocked.
Caywood says he hopes his colleagues will soon help change to wording on the current law.

TERRY CAYWOOD "Its a fine line and we have to be careful if we come up with a regulation that we’re not punishing a farm owner, versus a subdivision owner."

But even now, there are things that can be done.

TERRY CAYWOOD "Well if we have to take them to court they can be fined up to 500 dollars…and then the judge ..If they fail to pay that,and there’s lots of people that do, then they attach a lien to the property".

Newly elected Bradley county sheriff Eric Watson has appointed Deputy Tim Mason as Environmental officer.
It’ll be his job to enforce laws governing overgrown property.