Resident wants old building cleaned

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 29, 2004

County residents say watch for cattle in the road when you drive north on County Road 45. Pete Duncan, a resident of the Stewart community in north Hale County, is more concerned about the old store building by the road just past his residence.

The decision of Hale County Commissioner Joe Lee Hamilton Jr. to rescind a former yes vote has stopped action being taken to clean up that dilapidated structure.

When one approaches the intersection with County Road 42, around the curve, there is a demolished building that once held two stores. It is hard to see as you come around the curve, Duncan said, and more than a few cars have almost collided with the structure.

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A drainage ditch there is also a health hazard, he said.

Duncan came to Monday’s meeting of the Hale County Commission to once again ask for help in removing the structure. He has permission from the surrounding landowners for county workers to work on their land to clean up the structure.

Commissioner Walter Allen supported Duncan in his request. The attorney general supports work on private property when there is a health hazard, Allen said, and “it is our responsibility to make the road safe. Part of this building is on county property (in the easement).”

Duncan said he could easily get an easement if necessary from property owners to have the work done.

Commissioner Hamilton decided at a recent meeting to rescind an earlier vote in favor of the clean up. Commissioner Allen questioned Monday whether Hamilton could rescind his vote. County attorney Barrown D. Lankster said a commissioner was in his right to do so.

Commissioner Lois Fields voted against doing the clean up in the original vote Feb. 23. Commissioner Yolanda Watkins abstained.

Another motion by commissioner Allen to tear down the building and clear the brush off the property died for the lack of a second.

Hamilton said Monday it was the responsibility of the property owner to tear down the building.

County engineer Arzo Abrams said Thursday does not see the building clean up as a major priority. If county workers began cleaning up sites such as on County Road 45, it would open the door for requests from residents all over the county for work done on private property.

Buddy Sharpless, executive director of Association of County Commissions of Alabama, said Thursday, that the original Feb. 23 vote by the commission was “a done deal.” The commission could have voted to reconsider the clean up, but without such a motion, the vote in favor of the clean up still stands.