'Junkyard' house frustrates neighbors, city leaders

New Albany community, leaders frustrated by 'junkyard' house

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS) -- It's hard to miss it when driving down Hausfeldt Lane in New Albany with its cars sitting in the driveway, their hoods littered with trinkets, surrounded by bags and boxes piled on the ground.

Several neighbors have called it a junkyard, frustrated by the view and the rodents and critters that hide on the grounds of 519 Hausfeldt Lane. For years, neighbors have tried to get the property cleaned, but city officials say that's easier said than done.

"We don't want that to get to be a problem through the whole city or the county," New Albany Councilman Dan Coffey, who represents District 1, said.

According to Coffey and Mayor Jeff Gahan's office, the city has sent crews to clean the property twice--once in 2013 and once in 2015. Gahan's office said after the second cleanup, the owner, listed as Jarrett Hamilton, filed a federal suit against the city, which according to Gahan is still pending in the Court of Appeals.

"You've got your government. They're there to try to help alleviate these problems that arise like that, but having said that, you also have the judicial branch of the government saying the guy's got a right," Coffey said.

In a letter, Gahan said because of prior threats towards city workers, court approval, and police assistance is needed before stepping onto Hamilton's property, but that the city is looking into the situation, writing, "We support and allow due process to proceed to protect all those involved, but as we have demonstrated in the past, the City will act with prudence to protect the health of all citizens in the fringe areas or the incorporated City of New Albany."

"I know that the administration, they're looking at every avenue they can take, but it doesn't matter what we look at," Coffey said. "We always get back to the judge's ruling."

Gahan said the city did file another suit against Hamilton back in June, claiming Hamilton is using the property as a junkyard and has created a public health hazard and a public nuisance.

"This is a very unusual problem, and we are working closely with the courts to resolve it in a manner which is respectful to all parties," Gahan said.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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