A local man is taking Town of Woodbury officials to task over what he claims has been lax and selective enforcement of town ordinances. He is scheduled to address his grievances again tonight at the monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Guy Alexander Jr. has sent a series of letters to town officials outlining his complaints and requesting a variety of different information, including among other items a copy of all private acts that amend the Charter of the Town of Woodbury since it's original passage in 1925 and a copy of the oath of office that Woodbury Police Chief Tony Burnett took and the date it was taken.
Town officials say they have been working to address Alexander's concerns since he brought them to their attention over the past few months.
Following are three letters Alexander has recently sent to town officials. He sent copies to the Cannon Courier. The letters were sent to Alderwoman Dotty Duggin and Chief Burnett. In each letter, Alexander asks for a written reply from the public employees.
"They are paid by Woodbury property owners, of which I am one," Alexander said. "Both of these officials accepted delivery of their letters by certified mail, and as of July 21, 2010 neither has bothered to respect my request for a reply."
After receiving the letters someone did cut a small portion of the overgrowth, but it was never removed, and has now been joined by new growth, Alexander said.
"Upon these letters having no significant effect, I appealed to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at their June meeting. Despite the Mayor's assurance that everyone would be treated equally, and Alderwoman Duggin's pledge that she would take care of the matter, her property still has not been touched since the June meeting," Alexander said.
"During the meeting, I presented pictures of the property and copies of these letters and the town ordinance relative to overgrown properties. One Alderman practically threw the packet aside as if it was junk mail, without so much as bothering to glance at it.
Alderwoman Duggin followed this later in the meeting by making a wisecrack about the very ordinance she continues to violate - an ordinance that she swore to uphold and enforce," Alexander said.
"These are people who ran for, and were elected for the job and were sworn to uphold the laws of the Town of Woodbury, and they are not doing that job.
"I have to wonder how many people in the city have been cited into court for lesser things than this severely overgrown lot, and the neglected barn on the property. In fact, I've asked Chief Burnett for the records of citations issued during the last 2 years for tall weeds, abandoned cars, etc.
"It's time to speak up."
Alexander has requested that he and his son, Bo, be on the agenda for tonight's meeting. He has also requested early access to the meeting room at city hall to set up equipment for a PowerPoint presentation.
May 3, 2010
Chief Tony Burnett
Woodbury Police Department
965 West Main Street
Woodbury, TN 37190
I am writing you regarding the condition of the yard and property at a rental home I own at 340 Powell Street.
On April 22, 2010, I received a call from Assistant Chief Darrell Young. Mr. Young advised me that, upon your direction, he was calling to let me know that the yard at the referenced property had overgrown, and needed immediate attention. Upon checking, I agreed that the yard was high, and it was properly cut. I will make every effort to maintain it in that condition.
Having settled that matter, I would like to again bring to your attention the property directly across the street. That property is seriously overgrown with weeds and vegetation - much more so than my property - has been in this condition for years, and apparently no such warning or notice has been provided to that property owner. I have no problem keeping my property in an orderly condition, and I have no problem being notified when it does not meet standards. I do, however, have a problem with selective enforcement, which this appears to be. If I am required to cut the grass on a high yard, then the other property owner, in this case Alderwoman Dotty Duggin, should also have to do so. That she has not or does not appears to be a case of political favoritism.
You may recall some months, perhaps years back, you and I discussed this very situation, and you assured me you would take care of it. Shortly after that conversation, someone made one brief visit to the property and did a minimal amount of work. However, the vegetation on that property is now taller in some places than a grown man. My knee-high grass pales in comparison to this abandoned barn and heavy growth of bushes, saplings, and weeds which no doubt contains snakes, chiggers, ticks, and vermin and which potentially reduces the values of my property and others nearby. Mrs. Duggin also owns, or is responsible for another property at the corner of Mason Street and Hayes Street, and the grass at that property is at least twice as high as the grass was at my Powell Street property.
In these matters, I request and trust, that Mrs. Duggin receives the same notice to clean up her property that I received. I will assume, in the meantime, that is simply an administrative oversight and not a case of different rules if you are a landlord than if you are an Alderwoman and candidate for Trustee.
Photographs and correspondence that I have will verify all facts and dates as I have stated. This is a simple issue of fairness. I hold no hard feelings toward anyone, and simply ask that all Town of Woodbury property owners play by the same rules. I anticipate no retaliation or repercussions from this letter, and the persons involved.
I would also direct your attention to the right-of-way owned by the Town of Woodbury at this location. You will observe that it is also overgrown.
Should the subject property remain in its current condition by June 1, 2010, I will be attending the next scheduled meeting of the Woodbury Board of Mayor and Aldermen to appeal to that body for relief. Failing that, I will utilize other methods available to me, not to exclude litigation and local media.
I am enclosing photographs of all mentioned properties. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in writing.
I look forward to a prompt and favorable response from you regarding this matter.
Guy D. Alexander, Jr.
P.O. Box 58
Woodbury, TN 37190
May 3, 2010
Ms. Dotty Duggin
116 Houston Lane
Woodbury, TN 37190
I am writing to ask your assistance in cleaning up property that you own, or are responsible for, in the vicinity of Powell Street.
On April 22, I was notified by the Woodbury Police Department that the grass at my rental property at 340 Powell Street was high. It indeed was high, around shin level, and was promptly cut.
Your property, directly across the street, is also quite overgrown. As the enclosed photographs show, the vegetation and overgrowth is taller, in some places, than a grown man. I am speculating that you have not received a similar warning from the Police Department, so I am taking the liberty to notify you, and ask that for the sake of fairness and out of respect for the property values of nearby owners, that you take steps to permanently clean up this property in its entirety, and maintain it. The abandoned barn and abundance of weeds, bushes, saplings, etc. also no doubt is home to any number of snakes, vermin, chiggers and ticks making this also a safety and health issue. I'm sure, as a property owner and an Alderwoman, that this is a matter that would concern you if it were across the street from you.
As an Alderwoman, you should also be aware that the city-owned right-of-way at this location is also overgrown, seemingly contradicting the Town's priority of keeping vegetation under control. I'm sure you agree with me that all property owners in the Town of Woodbury should play by the same rules, and be held to the same standards of property appearance. In that spirit, I trust that you will take prompt action to clean up these properties in short order.
I appreciate your attention to this matter and your service to the people of Woodbury. A reply, in writing, regarding your intentions in these issues, will be appreciated by May 12, 2010.
Guy D. Alexander, Jr.