SUMMERDALE - At the beginning of June, the Summerdale Police Department cleared a local residence, located around County Road 28 and County Road 32, of alleged trespassers. The police acted after …
SUMMERDALE - At the beginning of June, the Summerdale Police Department cleared a local residence, located around County Road 28 and County Road 32, of alleged trespassers. The police acted after neighbors surrounding the property called Mayor David Wilson describing the property as a “problem property” and a “nuisance property.”
A group of citizens took matters to the Aug. town council, claiming the people who were previously on the property weren’t trespassing but living there, and were forced to leave their belongings behind, including clothes and personal items. They stated no eviction notice was received, and no one knew they needed to remove their personal belongings until after the property had been barricaded.
“The problem we had in this from the get-go was one of the residents at the property had permission to be on the property,” said Chief Kevin Brock in June. “When you have permission to be on the property that’s when an eviction process is needed, which is handled by the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department. During our investigation we found out that resident is no longer there and hasn’t been there for some time, and that opened our window because everybody else on that property was now trespassing, meaning we were able to go onto the property and trespass all those individuals.”
The group of citizens attending the Aug. council voiced that the resident on the lease had been at the property up until the day the police came.
“I reached out to the property owners because I had my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder on that property to get fixed, but when I finally received a call back they stated that all the vehicles were gone, that they had been crushed,” said local Contessa Blanks. “So during the time the Summerdale Police Department had their tape up and wouldn’t let anyone on the property, the property owners took it upon themselves to crush every vehicle. They said we had two whole months to get everything, when in fact we did not because without police escorts we were not allowed on the property.”
After the police cleared the property, tape went up to keep anyone from reentering. Some citizens said they attempted to contact the Summerdale Police to request an escort to enter onto the property to retrieve their personal belongings, but were never able to speak with an officer.
“What was happening at this piece of property was there was a lot of junk cars and there was some stuff that was going on that the property was not zoned for,” said Wilson. “It was a violation of all of our zoning, it was a violation of no business license. The Town of Summerdale does not evict people, we don’t do anything of that nature, all we do is enforce the ordinances of the Town of Summerdale, and the ordinance of the Town of Summerdale says you cannot have an operation of this sort going on there. It became a nuisance to the surrounding property owners, and so we acted on the nuisance and also the violation of the ordinance.”
Some of the citizens present at the Aug. council claimed there was no business operating on the property and the people who were there were simply living there, while Wilson claimed there were business operations taking place at the location.
“The police were instructed to seal the property off because of what was going on there, just like if you have a business that’s illegal and you shut that business down,” said Wilson. “What’s been done has been done, and it was done in accordance to the regulations of the Town of Summerdale as far as our part and the police department’s actions. As far as anything else goes, with the cars and belongings on the property, that’s a civil situation and has to be dealt with the property owners.”