The Greenwood City Council has refrained from taking action for now against a resident accused of violating the city’s junk car ordinance.
The council tabled a decision Tuesday on whether to issue a citation to Menasha Chandler, 315 W. Jefferson Ave., until its next meeting, scheduled for May 21.
The delay was made at the recommendation of City Attorney Don Brock.
City officials on April 30 issued a notice of violation to Chandler, giving her seven days to remove two cars they believe are inoperable.
“I did see the junked vehicles in her carport from the right of way,” said Betty Stigler, city code enforcement office. “I got a complaint about the vehicles. I got two complaints, actually.”
The city’s municipal code prohibits residents from parking junked vehicles in their driveway or in front of their house. It does allow residents to keep up to two junked vehicles in their backyard as long as they’re hidden from view of the neighbors.
Stigler presented a picture, taken from the street, to the council from the day she issued the notice of violation to Chandler. It shows two cars parked in the house’s driveway that Stigler claims do not appear to be driveable.
She then showed the council a picture she took Tuesday morning showing the cars still in the same spot.
Chandler said, however, that one of the cars is “usable.” She said her husband, Antonio, has been taking parts off one of the vehicles to keep the other running.
“Don’t just say my stuff is junk, when it’s not,” Chandler said.
She said that when she and her husband are home, the two vehicles they routinely use block the view of the two cars in question.
William Blake, another city code enforcement officer, said even if Chandler’s version is accurate, the couple would be violating another city ordinance that prohibits residents from working on vehicles in a driveway if the vehicles can be seen from the city right-of-way.
When asked how long it would take for her husband to repair the car, Chandler estimated two weeks to transfer the engine from one car to the other.
Stigler reminded Chandler, however, that residents can’t work on their cars if neighbors can see them.
The mayor said that the city is now working to actively enforce its ordinances by issuing violation notices and possible citations if residents aren’t in compliance.
“We just want to keep our city clean, ma’am,” McAdams said to Chandler.
Chandler had some complaints of her own against the city, claiming that storm water stands in her yard because a nearby drainage ditch is stopped up with dead leaves.
Outside of the City Council’s chambers, Chandler also claimed the city enforces the codes more vigorously in North Greenwood than South Greenwood. She said she formerly lived on Hope Street in South Greenwood and never saw the city deliver notice violations in that neighborhood.
She said if the city’s code were enforced uniformly, South Greenwood “would not look the way it looks.”
She said the laws should be applied fairly. “I don’t think you should have laws for one side of town.”
By postponing action, Stevenson said it should allow time for Chandler to get in compliance and would allow Ward 1 Councilman Johnny Jennings, in whose district the Chandlers live, to offer his thoughts on the case.
Jennings and David Jordan of Ward 6 were both absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
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