ASHLAND – The deadline for cleanup of two nuisance properties in Ashland was extended by the Ashland City Council.
At their meeting June 6, the council voted to give James Garman Sr. and Mike Lesley an additional two weeks to rid their properties of nuisance items at 1909 Boyd Street and 2602 Adams Street, respectively.
Garman has been in front of the city council before regarding junk on his property. In 2015 the lot was declared a public nuisance by the city council. After the declaration, work was done to clean up the items that blocked the alley and piled around the yard. However, the junk accumulated again, according to city officials.
Last month, the council set a deadline of June 5 for 100 percent abatement. Garman told the council last week he was about 40 percent done and said he did not meet that deadline because there has been so much rain lately.
“I’m trying to get it cleaned up,” he said.
Garman admitted in previous years that he was operating a recycling operation at his residence. Council Member Jim Anderson reminded Garman that such an operation is not allowed within city limits.
“It’s illegal and you can’t do that in that residential area,” Anderson said.
Council Member Paul Gossin asked City Administrator Jessica Quady to research the cost for the city to come in and clean up the property so the council has that information by the June 20 meeting.
That way, if Garman has not met the new extended deadline of June 19, the city council can immediately proceed with cleaning up the property, Gossin said. If the city does the work or hires a contractor, Garman will be responsible for the cost of the cleanup.
Last month Lesley had also been given a June 5 deadline for abatement. He was not required to have the property completely cleaned up, but just to have made visible progress by that date.
Lesley’s property has multiple motorcycles and pickup trucks, many which are unlicensed. The condition of the house was also mentioned in the complaint, along with overgrown trees and an illegal lean-to structure.
Lesley said he has removed two pickup trucks so far and plans to get rid of two more from the seven total he originally he had on the property. There were 17 motorcycles to begin with, but three are gone now, Lesley said. About five of the remaining motorcycles are not licensed, according to information supplied to the council by Ashland Police.
Gossin asked Lesley to have the number of vehicles whittled down to three trucks and five motorcycles, all licensed, by June 19.
Last month Lesley told the council he planned to remove the house and replace it with a modular home. At this meeting, he said he and his wife had met with a company about purchasing a modular, but the price was too high. They are looking at other plans, he said.
“We’re still pursuing that, too,” he said.
Lesley also said he has scheduled a tree service to come in and help with the overgrown trees. Gossin reminded Lesley that the lean-to has to be removed as well.
Lesley agreed to the two-week deadline extension.
“I’m willing to commit to moving the bikes and trying to get everything cleaned up on that other building you want down,” he said. “I think that’s achievable.”
In other action, the council approved extending the time the city displays American flags on light poles. For the past several years, the flags were put up along Silver Street for holidays like Memorial Day and July 4 and taken down shortly after. Anderson asked that the flags be flown from Memorial Day until Veterans Day.
“Let’s show our patriotism,” he said.
Quady said the reason they were taken down was to reduce wear and tear on the flags and poles. The city crews put up about 30 flags, she explained. The cost per flag is about $17.25, plus $29 to replace the brackets and poles, she added.
Anderson said he has seen other communities smaller than Ashland fly their flags for several months at a time and felt Ashland could bear the financial burden of replacing flags.
“The benefits we reap would be big,” he said.