Carter county proposal: regulating appearance of public and private property

PHOTO: Samantha Zarek

CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. - Carter County commissioners voting tonight on a resolution that could control the presentation of your home and yard. It's an ordinance to regulate the appearance of both public and private property within the county. Complaints about the state of public and private property have led commissioners on the planning and zoning committee to research a resolution. After extensive research, they are proposing an ordinance to regulate litter, garbage, refuse, rubbish, and dilapidated or abandoned structures both on public and private property.

"We are here to protect your property, but we're also here to make sure that other citizens invest the same type of pride that you take in owning your property," says chairman of the Carter County Board of Commissioners Robert Acuff.

If passed, the ordinance will allow citizens to report public or private property that is dilapidated or littered with garbage. A planning commission enforcement officer will then be sent to assess the claim. If there is a violation, the resident will be receive a notice from the county.

"He will cite that individual and give them so many numbers of days prior to them receiving a court date," Acuff says.

Acuff says the appearance of the county impacts economic development, especially for those looking to start a business.

"If you don't take pride in your county and they can see that, then the likelihood of them thinking that they're going to have reliable workers and can bring other business opportunities in, or partners, is going to be diminished," Acuff says.

According to a group that advocates for beautifying the community, the ordinance could also boost tourism.

"When people come, I hear all the time at various places that we go out to eat, that this is such a beautiful place, but it sure is trashed out, not sure if we want to come back or not," says Carter County citizen and founder of Carter County Proud, Edward Jordan.

The ordinance needs a majority vote to pass. So far six of 13 commissioners have signed the resolution.

"When a place is beautiful like this, we're a diamond in the rough, we shine it up and add more beautiful things to it, people will have more pride within our community," Jordan says.

If passed, the ordinance will be enforced immediately, as it becomes a part of the county statute.

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