West Tulsans Fight To Clear Overgrown Property

Saturday, August 8th 2009, 6:03 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6    

TULSA, OK -- Residents in a west Tulsa neighborhood are dealing with a growing problem. The lot at the corner of 65th West Avenue and Charles Page Boulevard has been taken over by weeds, trees and debris.

"Used to be there was homeless people hung out here, but it's got so bad they don't even hang out here," said JD Smith, Neighborhood Association.

Residents say they just want the eyesore gone, but all they get from government leaders is the run-around.

So what's the holdup?

"Somewhere on the face of this earth, there is somebody that has the authority to do something about that," said JD Smith.

The concern is over the 2 1/2 acres of land, covered with trash, trees and tall grass.

"I mean, look at it, it looks like a jungle," said Charlotte Stringer, a neighbor.

Charlotte Stringer is frustrated of fighting.

"I've been doing this for over a year, trying to get someone to help me and they pass the buck," said Charlotte Stringer.

Charlotte Stringer wants to know why the property owners are allowed to ignore what's becoming a major eyesore.

"This is the last place I want to be is on TV and you're the last hope," said Charlotte Stringer.

The root of the problem lies with where the property is located -- sort of a no man's land.

The Tulsa city limits stops just on the edge of the property. It then juts south, to West 8th Street, before going back west to the other side of the property; essentially leaving the land outside of Tulsa and Sand Springs in an unincorporated part of the county.

"Definitely is a visual nuisance," said John Baker, of the Tulsa Health Department. "It really all boils down to funds."

Baker says the land has been designated as unplatted for the past forty years, meaning county leaders don't have the authority to force the property owner to mow the grass or cut the trees.

However, Baker says, the health department does plan to clear the burned out shell of a home off the property. Part of the $7,000 bill is being paid through stimulus money.

But that doesn't please everyone. They just want the owner to take care of his land.

"We just got to look at it, in other words, there's just nothing nobody can do," said Charlotte Stringer.

The News On 6 was not able to get in touch with the property owner.

John Baker says the cost of removing the home will be put as a lien on the property. If it's not paid back in two years, the property could be sold at auction.