Medora Town Council tackling property cleanup



More than 25 letters recently were sent to Medora residents in hopes they will take care of an issue with their property.

The Medora Town Council gave names and addresses of property owners to town attorney Matt Lorenzo so he could send them a letter and give them 20 days to resolve the ordinance violation.

Two residents who received those letters recently attended a council meeting to express their thoughts.

Christina Simkins received a letter about a truck without a license plate on her property at Mill and Riley streets.

“That truck may have been an eyesore, but it’s not a public nuisance,” she told the council. “When I look around, even off my front porch, there are people’s houses that I see that need cleaned up way more than mine of moving one vehicle.”

She estimated the truck has sat in her yard that way for at least six years.

“If it was such an eyesore and it has sat there all of these years, why didn’t somebody knock on my front door and say, ‘Hey, it has been here. You can’t keep it. What are you going to do with it?’” Simkins asked the the council.

Councilwoman Rhonda Freeman and Lorenzo both said there’s a good chance the other properties she referenced received letters, too.

Simkins said she complied with the request within the 20 days, but she didn’t receive a copy of the ordinance in which she was in violation.

“No ordinance was attached saying my vehicle was illegal. How was I to know there was an ordinance when nobody had said so?” she asked.

Calep Vanarsdale said he received a letter about unregistered vehicles on his property, but he claimed the two referenced aren’t getting licensed because they are strictly used for drag racing.

“They are beautiful. They don’t look like eyesores,” he said. “Now if you want, I can put a car cover over them. That’s fine. … If it’s about not registering vehicles, I’m not going to register them because they are not meant for the street. They are meant for the strip. They are not eyesores. You can drive by and look at them.”

The town ordinance states unlicensed or unregistered vehicles should be off the road or stored indoors and not in view of the public, so Lorenzo told Vanarsdale he recommends covering them if he can’t store them indoors.

“I need to cover them anyway to protect the paint,” Vanarsdale said.

Lorenzo said it’s up to the council to decide if it wants to move forward with suing any of the property owners who don’t comply and pay their fine.

He said the cost of filing is around $170. If the town was to sue a property owner and win the case, that person would have to pay the court costs.

“There are a lot of vehicles in town that are sitting there without plates,” council President Jerry Ault said. “If you go to sue them, then you’re talking a whole big bunch of money.”

Lorenzo said that’s assuming the town would even collect the money from the property owner.

“That’s the big if,” Ault said.

Simkins said some people may not comply because they have never been asked to clean up their property in the past.

Vanarsdale said the council could set the example now.

“Something should be done about it so people say, ‘Hey, the town fined me $200, and I had to pay it,’” he said. “You dig into somebody’s wallet, they usually send it and correct the problem.”

Ault said the council needs to know what it can and can’t do moving forward, so he asked Lorenzo to look up the town ordinance and provide that to the three council members.

“We’ll table that until the next meeting,” Ault said. “We’ll get something solid figured out.”

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