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Council continues in effort to acquire old football field by eminent domain

The Lennox City Council held a special meeting on May 27th. Council President Mike Gregg presided at the meeting in the absence of Mayor Orville Wiebers.

After approving the agenda, the council heard from Lennox resident Larry DeVries, who presented the council with six complaints about abandoned property located at the corner of 4th and Garfield.

He told the council that the house has been abandoned for years. The windows are covered and the property is overgrown with trees, grass and weeds. He said there were animals coming in and out of the house, including bats and rats and the house was becoming a health concern for the neighborhood.

“We’re done being patient,” he said. “Something has to be done.”

Debra Dixon, another neighbor, told the council that there were times her son couldn’t even go outside to play basketball because of the bats coming from the house.

Public Works Director Greg Stack said they could begin the process to take care of the lawn immediately. He explained that the process to start condemnation of the house would take more time. A letter will be sent to the owner, giving the property owner a stated amount of time to take care of the problem. If it is not dealt with, the City takes the matter to civil court.

“It’s not an extremely fast process,” conceded Stack.

The property has since been posted with a sign stating that the property was in violation of Lennox ordinances. The owner had until Monday to cut the grass to less than 8 inches. If not done, the City will cut the grass at the expense of the property owner. As of Monday there appeared to be no effort to mow the lawn. City personnel mowed Tuesday.

The City Council deals with nuisance issues in the City on a complaint basis. Once someone complains about the property, the City begins action to take care of the nuisance. Now that the City had official complaints from residents, Stack said they would talk to the attorney about starting condemnation of the house.

Under old business, Ordinance 557, an ordinance to rezone a parcel of property from Floodplain/Conservation to General Business. Stack explained that this was property that previously had been agriculture property.

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