KIMBALL, Tenn. — Complaints about a property along U.S. Highway 72, the main road that runs through Kimball, Tennessee, have city leaders mulling code enforcement rules to address the issue.
At the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen's January meeting, Alderman John Matthews said two residents approached him about the unsightly property that is in clear view of drivers traveling through the town.
"There's a convenience-type store or building right there," he said.
Matthews said the property was planned originally for a sandwich shop or convenience store about 20 years ago, but "that never happened."
The building, along with two broken down recreational vehicles, has been there ever since.
Matthews said the complaining residents wanted to know if the town had a legal right to clean it up.
Mayor Rex Pesnell said city leaders had addressed the issue of a junkyard that is connected to the area Matthews described in the past.
The board has the right to address dilapidated properties through its property maintenance codes and what are known at the state level as "slum clearance" regulations that are similar to other existing town ordinances, City Attorney Billy Gouger said.
"The building inspector is your primary enforcement officer for that, followed by the chief of police," he said.
Pesnell asked how the city would differentiate between the nearby junkyard and this particular part of the property.
"I'm not sure the junkyard is legal because in order to comply with the state statutes for wrecked or dismantled vehicles, it's supposed to be screened from view and so many feet from state highways," Gouger said. "Anything that can negatively contribute to welfare or safe health of adjoining property owners, you may address under those ordinances."
The board's first step will be to request Kimball's building inspector to "pay a visit," Pesnell said.
"That's usually what happens," Gouger said. "There's usually a discussion, and if the building inspector believes there are conditions that need to be remedied, generally, they will allow a period of time within which that's to be accomplished. If it's not done, they usually cite them to city court."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org