Hoarder: I make city look bettter

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 7, 2012

Shown is the Cadiz Street residence of Allen Jordan, which is shown with litter.

The house on Cadiz Street is easily recognizable as a public nuisance property.

Piles of household garbage – everything from empty, ant-encrusted ice cream cups, discarded newspapers, boxes and paper to just plain trash – cover the ground.

Allen Jordan, who according to court records, lives there, is no stranger to the City of Andalusia’s abatement process. He refused to give his name or to have his photograph taken, stating, “I seek no fame.”

Jordan said he mostly collects the items discarded by others, which are mostly found on the sides of the road. Sometimes others give him items, but that’s rare, he said.

“I basically react to what the litterbugs do. I gather it up and burn it; turn it into fuel,” he said of the piles.

He said after Hurricane Ivan, city officials made him clean his property. Now, Jordan is undergoing a second session of abatement, but he doesn’t see anything wrong with the way his property looks.

“I do it for two reasons,” Jordan said of his collecting habits. “I recycle. I’ve been doing it since the ‘50s. If we didn’t recycle, we wouldn’t have anything. I do it, too, to make the city look nice. I pick this stuff up because no one else does.”

Jordan said he is able to sell some of the items he collects such as aluminum cans, copper and other scrap metals.

“It’s not so much money. I do it so I can feel better. It makes the city look better,” he said.

City officials disagree.

State law has very specific guidelines about individual property rights, and the process for challenging what others perceive to be public nuisances. The law requires the abatement process for junk to go through the court system.

Recently, the city’s abatement officers got a ruling in city court requiring Jordan, who attended the court session, to clean up. If he doesn’t comply, the city’s option will be to clean up the property and assess the cost on his property taxes.

When asked about the ongoing abatement process between him and the city, Jordan said he plans “to clean things up,” but didn’t say when or how long the process will take.

Andy Wiggins, the city’s director of planning and zoning, said Jordan’s case is one of many in which the city is involved.

In the last three years, 460 pieces of property have handled through the abatement process – including Jordan’s. Currently, there are another 50 open cases.

Wiggins, who spoke Wednesday to members of the Andalusia Lion’s Club, said the city’s regulations are put into place to protect both the city’s overall aesthetics and residents’ property values.

“The way our community looks is the way people look at our community,” Wiggins said.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, the council began the abatement process for nine additional properties – including the Cedar Apartments on East Three Notch and homes on Pugh, Oak, Henderson, Doyle and Hilda streets, as well as on Sixth and Opp avenues. The bulk of the properties were cited for trash, litter, weeds and unsafe structures.