Vacant Lot Causing Problems For a Tulsa Neighborhood

Saturday, September 4th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A neighborhood is sick of fighting red tape and city hall just to get rid of some tall weeds. The way the weeds are not only an eyesore, but, also a health hazard.

The neighbors feel so strongly about the mess behind their homes, nearly all of them came out to talk to about it.

"Even the inspector came out, JDean Long, from the city and said he had seen the snakes himself," says Ann Watson, concerned neighbor.

The residents say they've called city hall and their city councilor and got no where, they say they got unkept promises from the railroad and the gas company.

"I've called the gas company several times and the grass growing over the meters. I don't know how they can read the meters. They promised to get it taken care of, they haven't," says Melva Foreman, concerned neighbor.

The trouble is ownership. Oklahoma Natural Gas says while it has a gas line and meters near the fence line, it doesn't own the area and isn't responsible for mowing it. They say their employees do read the meters.

"If our yards were this tall, they'd give us a ticket, I think we ought to be able to give them a ticket," says Barbara Bowen, concerned neighbor.

The city says it doesn't own this area either but, has been trying to mow some of it anyway. The city says a railroad out of Stillwater owns 98% of this property and just doesn't keep it up. Tulsa public works says for the first time they can order railroads to mow their right-of-ways and if they don't, the city can do it and charge the railroad. The city said it sent a letter to the railroad, but, not about this particular piece of land yet.