Tuscaloosa says property owners must clean up vacant lots or pay

Tuscaloosa says property owners must clean up vacant lots or pay up

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Reporter Josh Gauntt walks onto a vacant lot to show how tall the weeds are. Source: WBRC video Reporter Josh Gauntt walks onto a vacant lot to show how tall the weeds are. Source: WBRC video
Yellow signs dot the city, giving property owners a week to clean up or pay up. Source: WBRC video Yellow signs dot the city, giving property owners a week to clean up or pay up. Source: WBRC video
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

Tuscaloosa says the road to recovery shouldn't include weeds. The city is cracking down on overgrown lots left as a result of the April 27 tornado.

Driving around Tuscaloosa, one might notice little yellow signs popping up at overgrown vacant lots around the city, which warn property owners if they don't clean up, they will have to pay up.

The signs say if property owners don't cut the grass within seven days they will face stiff penalties if the grass and weeds are over 12 inches high. If the property owner refuses to pay the fines, the city could take out a lien against them.

Over 500 violations have been handed out so far.

"This is not harassment. This is not to try and invade on someone's privacy but merely just an effort to remind people that we all need to work together and do our part because we want to have a better community," Robin Edgeworth, Director of Recovery Operations, said.

Alberta City was one of the hardest hit areas and Shirley Kittrell remembers it like it was yesterday.

"I never heard the wind howl like that...I mean it was scary...but it looked just like somebody had dropped a bomb in here," she said.

Since the storm, the area is starting to grow back but it's also overgrown with weeds and other debris. Kittrell lives next to a vacant lot.

"It was last year I believe when the house was taken down. It is so dirty out here. I mean, it takes away from your house," she said.

Kittrell says she's grateful the city is taking a stand and agrees that property owners should pay up if they don't comply.

"I mean if you don't have enough within yourself to do anything about how your lot looks...and somebody has to make you do it...well you have to pay the price," Kittrell said.

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