St. Andrews neighbors get tough with neglectful property owners

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Clean up. That's the warning neighbors in St. Andrews are preparing to send out to neglectful property owners.

Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area. And the Homeowners' Association says since the storm, many vacant slabs and other properties are in horrible condition.

"We got to get these people to clean up their slabs," said St. Andrews Homeowners' Association President Robert Spivacke.

Spivacke says neighbors are complaining to him because they're frustrated with the community's post-Katrina look.

"We want to bring back the good looks of St. Andrews."

Currently, 19 slabs sit in the community, and Spivacke points out that more than half are in really bad condition. There's broken glass, rusty nails, pipes, and overgrown weeds. One slab even has a fork and spoon from someone's old home.

"Even though they are not living there, it is still their property. It reflects on them and it reflects on us."

To get people to tidy up their space, property neglect letters are going out in the next few weeks as a warning.

"We are going to state the condition of the property, and ask them in a very nice way, would you please come and check your property out," Spivacke said.

If property owners chose not to clean up slabs after receiving the courtesy letter, the Homeowners' Association may take legal steps to make it happen.

"We are going to go to Jackson County, and say we have a health hazard and a safety hazard."

Supervisor John McKay represents the St. Andrews area. He told WLOX News the county can't order people to remove their slabs, but it can enforce codes to keep the property clean and safe.

"If it poses a health or safety risk, the county can force the homeowner to clean it up at their own expense. Or the county can clean it up and apply it to their taxes," McKay said.

Robert Spivacke is confident this push for a cleaner St. Andrews will be a wake-up call for lazy property owners.

"It has to be an everybody cares effort."

The Homeowners' Association president said the neglected properties are also hurting home sales in St. Andrews. Currently, there are 14 homes on the market.

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