Dump in county draws neighbors ire

Published 11:34 pm Saturday, October 11, 2008

A plat of land that appears to be one landowner’s personal dump site has residents a little huffy.

The dump site is located on Ulman Stockstill Road, near the Hobolochitto Creek and the Pearl River. A ride down that road leads to a small lot where landowner has decided to dump a pile of debris and three dilapidated log cabins.

Residents Lane Crawford and Scott McLemore said they are tired of looking at the lot, which has been in varying states of disarray for between five to six years. They have seen an assortment of trash dumped and removed from the site in that time, from Styrofoam to furniture and now the cabins.

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A dumpster was parked on the lot for a time, said Crawford. Apparently it was used to attempt to cleanup the lot, but he said the landowner would dump more debris after cleaning some up.

“That’s just squalor,” Crawford said looking at the cluttered piece of land.

“It’s like a slap in the face. He’ll move stuff (out) and then there’s those other buildings in here,” McLemore said.

When Hurricane Katrina hit about three years ago, the ensuing flood pushed some of the debris out in the road, blocking the residents only way out, Crawford said.

Pearl River County Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero said the problem is going to end soon, with the county cleaning it up.

“We’re gonna clean it and lien it,” Pinero said. “They had the opportunity to clean it and they didn’t complete the job.”

Numerous attempts have been made to contact the landowner and have him voluntarily clean it up. Now that those efforts have failed, the county is forced to use its personnel and equipment to clean the land up. The cost to do the work, including the overtime it will cost to pay county employees to do it, will be attached the landowner’s tax bill.

Pinero said he has tried to contact the landowner, who to his recollection lives in Marrero, La., but recent attempts have been unsuccessful.

Former District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen said that piece of land was a problem for him when he was in office. He remembers the landowner also owned a furniture business in Slidell, La. At times there would be what he suspected to be business-related trash out there, such as Styrofoam and cardboard boxes. Toward the end of Thigpen’s time in office, action was setto take place to cleanup the land, but when District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday sued the county concerning the subdivision regulations, the board got sidetracked.

Current District IV Supervisor J. Patrick Lee said that just in the short time he has been in office the land has been a problem. He recalls thatafter he contacted the landowner about cleaning the land he came out for a couple of days, but never returned to finish the job. When Lee called him back to finish the job and report more dumping, the landowner claimed someone else is dumping on the land. Lee said the only resolution to the problem would be to clean the land and put the cost to do so on the landowner’s taxes.

“I’m not calling him back anymore. We’re going to do what we need to do to clean it up,” Lee said.

The cabins on the land will be demolished and disposed of. Remaining debris also will be removed. If the landowner does not pay the taxes and the lien on his property after the land is cleaned then, after all legal procedures are handled, it will be put up for tax sale, Lee said.