As Albertville has grown in recent years, adding several businesses and anticipating the grand opening of Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater, the Albertville Police Department believes it is more important than ever for residents to “take pride” in their city and help keep it beautiful.
In order to achieve this, Albertville Police Chief Jamie Smith, Assistant Chief J.T. Cartee and Ordinance Officer Tammy want the public to be better aware of the city’s residential ordinances.
Cartee said this is not a solicitation for complaints from suspecting residents, but a way to help educate those who may not know or understand the rules in place.
“We get enough complaints, and we’re well aware of the problems,” he said. “But we want to get the people involved, just start getting people to start cleaning up their properties, just taking some pride in their properties is the biggest thing. And a lot of it comes down to ignorance. That’s why we feel like if we can just do a little bit of education, people will have a better understanding of what it means to be a part of our city and be a good citizen.”
Cartee said there were many ordinances that people often forget about or don’t know. But the main thing the department wants the public to understand is that there is a reason for every ordinance.
“There are reasons for these, if people will really think about it,” Cartee said. “The reason we want you to cut your grass is because it creates a problem with mosquitoes in the summer time. The reason we want you to keep your pool clean is that it creates a problem with mosquitoes in the summer time. If you have a lot of rubbish and limbs around your house, it causes a rodent problem.
“This stuff has other reasons that go along with it other than just aesthetics,” he continued. “We want the town to look good. This town is growing, there’s a lot coming here. I’m very excited and optimistic about the future of this city, and we want to clean it up, because, hey, it’s taking off. Just look around.”
Ordinances commonly violated include:
• “Within 24 hours, garbage cans must be removed from the street and kept at the side or rear of house or building.” Cartee also encouraged residents to bag trash and do their best not to allow the garbage cans to overflow.
• “Household furniture, appliances and mattresses are prohibited outside of dwelling or accessory building, including old HV A/C units.” Cartee said this includes shelves and bookcases. Furniture on the front porch must be patio furniture.
• “Every outdoor family swimming pool shall be completely surrounded by a fence or wall not less than five feet in height. All fences must be kept in good repair.”
• “Posting notices without permission from the mayor. This includes yard sale signs, balloons, fliers, handbills, etc.” The signs are not to be posted in the right of way, Cartee said.
“We all know our city is run by a realtor, but he told me to pull his up just like we would for anybody else,” he said. “He’s totally on board with this. We’re going to start removing those as the work load allows us.”
• “Maintain premises free of litter.”
• “Overgrowth of weeds and vegetation, in excess of 12 inches. Downed trees, limbs, stumps, partially uprooted stumps, root balls, dead or live hanging limbs causing favorable conditions for insects, mosquitoes, snakes or rodent harborage.”
• “Prohibited height of grass and/or weeds.”
• “Unlawful to keep scrap, junk, inoperable vehicles unless housed in an approved enclosed and covered structure so as not viewable from public way or other private property and must not present a fire, health or safety hazard.”
Cartee said the department had also begun cracking down on “shade tree mechanic shops.”
“You have to keep in mind, the residential area is not the place to run a business,” he said.
When it comes to yard sales, people are required to get a permit. One person can only have up to two per year, according to Smith.
“We’ve seen people that sell every weekend, like they run a business,” Smith said.
These ordinances aren’t new; Cartee says their “ancient.” So as the department begins to crack down on the issues, Cartee said they would be lenient at first.
“We don’t want people to get upset with us,” he said. “We’d like to start off by saying, ‘Hey. People don’t like change, but things are changing.’
“People are really understanding,” Cartee added. “Sometimes I’ll just stop and talk with people, and then they’ll start cleaning up their yard when I come back through. So, really communication is the biggest thing.”
Cartee encouraged landowners to take more time to familiarize new tenants with ordinances. He also encouraged others within the community to help those that aren’t able to keep homes clean as should. Cartee said residents could also contact the police department to see how they could help others in the community.
“It’s a community effort,” Cartee said. “If we all pull together, we can help make this place better.”