Neighborhood nuisance takes center stage in Gulf Shores

By Crystal Cole/Islander Editor
Posted 5/8/17

Several homeowners in Gulf Shores came to a recent council work session to complain about a neighbor who may be operating businesses illegally out of his home.

A representative for the Gulf Pines …

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Neighborhood nuisance takes center stage in Gulf Shores

Posted

Several homeowners in Gulf Shores came to a recent council work session to complain about a neighbor who may be operating businesses illegally out of his home.

A representative for the Gulf Pines neighborhood said the situation had been going on for at least two years now at a residence on East 23rd Avenue where the resident has allegedly been operating at least six businesses out of his home.

“Over the past two years, we have sent numerous emails to the city, starting Oct. 19, 2015,” the representative said. “During that time, we know that six citations have been issued to the gentleman that is running these businesses and, to the best of our knowledge, he was placed on probation. And, yet, here it is two years later, and the businesses are still up and running and being heavily advertised on buy/sell/trade sites.”

The representative said each letter to the city contained the laws they felt were being broken with these businesses.

“Long story short, we’ve got a wood recycle business, automobile and motorcycle sales, stump grinding, pressure washing, tractor works and we’ve got a junkyard by the very definition in the Gulf Shores city ordinance to a T,” the representative said. “What’s really concerning to me is that in these businesses, I doubt very seriously that he has a business license for nary a one of the six businesses.”

The representative said the resident dumps his wood recycle waste in front of the home.

“He leaves wood recycle waste out in front of the house for the city of Gulf Shores to pick up on the taxpayers’ dime,” the representative said. “If you’re running any other business, you’d have to get Allied Waste or Waste Management to deal with that kind of waste, but I believe the encroachment of city property has been addressed.”

He also accused the resident of spreading Roundup inside the city easement, which has caused the grass to die and erosion to occur on the city property. He added the resident had built fencing along the property using steel siding and other materials, calling it an “absolute eyesore.”

“I’ve got what looks like a shipping container outside of each one of my west facing windows,” the representative said.

The representative had 88 examples of the offending resident advertising his businesses at the location, as recently as late April.

“Why is this still ongoing?” the resident asked. “It is the talk of the neighborhood.”

Gulf Shores Planning Director Andy Bauer said the resident had been cited at least five or six times and even took him to municipal court, where he plead guilty but later appealed to the circuit court where the decision was tossed.

Bauer said the city cited him again on more violations last week and would be taking him to civil court this time.

Gulf Shores Revenue Supervisor Marcy Kichler said the resident does not have any business licenses for the site.

“From what I understand, in the past he has denied he is actually doing any business at that site,” Kichler said. “We need more proof that he’s actually operating a business. In the past, he’s just said it’s a yard sale or different things like that.

The Gulf Pines representative told city officials the resident had customers coming into the neighborhood on a daily basis, and that one of those people had almost hit a child that was playing outside.

“It’s the flagrant disregard for the law,” the representative said. “I have 88 examples of advertising the numerous businesses there over the years that I would be happy to share with you here. It just goes on and on. Is he being fined? Is anything being done about this, or is it just being kicked down the road?”

Mayor Robert Craft said he rode by and took a look at the property.

“It is depressing to see that’s happening in a residential community, but we have to determine what laws he has broken,” Craft said. “We have to research and make sure he is conducting business over there. We have to prove it. We don’t want to go back to court again and not be able to stand behind what we’ve charged him for.”

Craft assured the neighbors the city was looking into the matter.

“We’re readdressing this from a civil court perspective because it’s more of a civil fine,” Craft said. “We are absolutely going to get engaged in this again and do everything we can to push this forward.”

The council also:

- Discussed appointing Rob Stanskoski as the city’s alternate municipal judge.

- Talked about the 2017 street resurfacing list, which included Clubhouse Drive (with widening of bike paths between West 2nd and Regency), Callaway Road (includes widening for bike path), Old Fort Morgan Trail and West 8th Avenue (drainage repairs at Highway 59 and resurfacing past the entrance of Hardee’s).