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Stonecrest man complains about Town judge to FBMA

A Stonecrest subdivision man is fed up with an eyesore house in the neighborhood and with Farragut’s municipal judge.

Vaughn Williams told Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its meeting, Thursday, Feb. 12, “[Farragut] codes enforcement has been out, they have looked at it, have issued citations, we have had court dates, and it seems like your appointed judge doesn’t want to do anything about it.”

Williams said he came to the court Monday, Feb. 9, and Judge Jerry M. Martin was surprised to see a complainant actually appear at his court date.

“He said a lot of people that file complaints never show up. Well, I showed up and wanted something done about it, and it was just like it didn’t matter,” Williams said.

“Well, no wonder nobody shows up when they file complaints [because] it doesn’t do any good.

“You’ve got to have a judge that’s willing to take care of the citizens of Farragut,” he added.

The house in question, which Williams would not identify, allegedly has been left halfway painted and has a deck that is a safety hazard. Williams also said there is debris and trash in the yard.

Farragut’s codes officers have cited the house, which only is occupied sporadically, several times, but the property has not been brought into compliance.

Alderman Tom Rosseel said older subdivisions such as Stone-crest rely on the codes department and Town court to keep homes in compliance with Farragut ordinances.

According to Williams, the judge dismissed the matter because there was no professional opinion from a structural engineer.

“I know our codes officers are concerned, particularly because,, by dismissing the safety of the deck, the Town is now in immediate liability,” Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said.

According to Hawk, the deck was structurally unsound, but “seeing as how nobody on staff is a structural engineer or a licensed commercial contractor, I guess we are not qualified to make that determination.”

Town Engineer Darryl Smith said he would support any judgment on structural soundness made by the codes department. Vice Mayor J. Michael Haynes disagreed.

“It’s a legal case. You can’t simply voice your opinion on technical issues,” he said.

“The staff, if they’re going to bring a charge, needs to be prepared to prove whatever that is,” Haynes said, even if they needed to get testimony from a structural engineer.

Hawk stated, “Per the State of Tennessee and per our ordinances, the Town staff is very well-qualified to make a determination of whether a deck is safe or unsafe.”

Mayor Eddy Ford asked Town staff to address the problem.

“We’ll see if the appropriate action can be taken and addressed in the proper way,” Ford said.

Williams said his problem was not entirely with the outcome of the case.

“It’s not necessarily the judgment and so forth, it’s kind of this nonchalant attitude that Judge Martin had in this whole case, Vice Mayor,” Williams said.

“I do not feel Judge Martin was prepared for any of the cases that came before him Monday night, period,” he added.


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