Village of Bellaire has its own high grass, weed issues to deal with

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON BELLAIRE police Chief Dick Flanagan says the owner of the old 7-Inn plans to clean up his property soon of tall weeds and grass.

BELLAIRE — The old saying “Do as I say, not as I do” may work with one’s children, but when it comes to code enforcement, apparently that doesn’t always fly.

During a recent Village Council meeting, Councilman Donny Maupin said the village needs to hire at least one more person to cut the village’s grass. He said there currently is only one worker available to do it and it is too much for one person to handle.

“The grass is knee high,” Maupin said of some city-owned lots.

He noted that Police Chief Dick Flanagan, who also enforces the city’s codes, believes he is being held up in enforcing the high grass and weed laws because of the city’s issues.

Flanagan said Monday that he does receive complaints for some property owners about the state of some village-owned lots and properties.

“We’re trying to get properties cleaned cut and cleaned up, we hear from a lot of people who get upset (who say) the village properties are just as bad if not worse. I hear that a lot.

Since taking over the code enforcer position, Flanagan has been aggressive in his campaign to get the village cleaned up.

He’s cited and taken many property owners to court, forcing them to either raze or repair their blighted buildings. Most of the structures have come down at the property owners’ expense, not the taxpayer, he has pointed out.

However, when he is citing brings up the state of a village property having high weeds or grass, it makes his job more difficult.

“There are over 200 on the auditor’s website. The majority of them are empty lots. They could actually hire 10 more people just to cut the grass and do weed eating,” he said.

Flanagan said he does not know exactly how the village came to own so many properties, but some were acquired after the village had to raze a property and the place a lien on it.

Meanwhile, Flanagan continues to do his work. One of the larger most visible pieces of privately-owned property he is trying to get cleaned up is the former 7-Inn on Belmont Street. It has been shutdown for many years, and though it is boarded up, grass and weeds continue to grow.

Flanagan said the property was condemned years ago. Now, however, the issue is with the high weeds and grass. He said the owners have told him they have plans for the property, but it still needs cleaned up in the meantime.

“It’s an eyesore and a safety hazard with all the rodents; there are rats, bats, snakes, raccoons and opossums,” he said.

Flanagan believes the people who own the property own other hotels in the region, and may even own a portion of a larger national chain.