ASHLAND – Extensions were granted again for two residences declared public nuisances by the City of Ashland.
During their regular meeting on June 20, the city council gave James Garman Sr. and Mike Lesley until July 18 to accomplish what they were originally asked to months, or even years, earlier.
The council reluctantly gave James Garman Sr. an extension until July 18 to clean up his property at 1909 Boyd Street.
“Against my better judgment, I’ll give you a (another) month,” said Council Member Bruce Wischmann as he made the motion for the extension.
Garman did not complete the abatement by June 5 and June 19 deadlines originally set by the council.
“We haven’t seen too much progress here, I can tell you that,” said Council Member Jim Anderson while he seconded the motion.
Garman’s property has been on the city’s radar since 2015, when the council first declared it a nuisance. After the declaration, work was done to clean up junk that blocked the alley and was piled around the yard. However, the items accumulated again over the past four years.
Garman told the council he knows he promised his property would be cleaned up, but circumstances prevented that from happening, including a dog knocking his truck into gear, ramming it into his house.
“I’ve had nothing but bad luck,” he said.
Garman said he recycles as a hobby.
“I do it to take and keep it out of the landfill,” he said.
But Anderson reminded Garman that such an operation is not permitted in residential zoning, even if it is a hobby.
Garman also said he can’t afford to hire someone to do the work. During the meeting, Jerry Otto offered to loan Garman equipment to help with the cleanup. Otto said he is the mortgage holder on the property, but Garman is the owner.
“I’m just the bank,” Otto said.
Prior to the vote, Anderson warned Garman that the council would not grant any more extensions.
“If we decide tonight to give you this extension, that will be the last extension that you will receive and we will go in and clean it up,” he said.
The city council can order a nuisance property cleaned up and send the bill to the property owner.
In anticipation that Garman would not be done with the abatement, the city council asked City Administrator Jessica Quady to obtain bids for the cleanup. However, a decision was postponed after the extension was granted.
Council members told Lesley they could see he was making progress on the abatement at his property at 2602 Adams Street. Lesley was ordered to remove unlicensed vehicles and motorcycles, car parts, a shed, a canvas lean-to and dead or dying trees and to replace his house.
Lesley said he has is down to seven motorcycles and three pickup trucks.
“You are making movement, so that’s awesome,” said Council Member Paul Gossin.
The council asked Lesley to focus on taking down the shed and lean-to and removing the tires and car parts that are sitting outside. He should also work to get rid of a pickup cab that is also on his property.
“Thank you for the extension,” Lesley told the council. “We’ll keep making progress.”