City not responsible to clear alleys

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Who's responsible for maintaining alley ways in the city of Richmond, especially when over grown vegetation poses a nuisance and a hazard? 12 on Your Side looked into a resident's complaint and found some information that may help you too.

Jesse Oliver is an amputee. He's having difficulty getting to his home and wants the alley cleaned up. Not everyone knows what part of the alley way is the homeowner's or property owner's responsibility.

Regardless of the vantage point, a view down the alley on foot or from the driver's seat of his van, thick brush and weeds are far reaching.

"I got smacked in the face so many times coming through here. Now, I have to get a compound job on my van to get the marks off it, but all this was unnecessary," said Jesse Oliver.

The alley is Jesse Oliver's primary path, when he leaves and returns from delivering free bread to hospital vets and nursing homes. The wheel chair bound veteran says the city promised in June to cut back the brush by September to make maneuvering the alley easier.

"If I was 100 percent healthy, then I wouldn't complain about it," he said. "So, my best shot was to call 12 on Your Side because I couldn't get anybody from the city to come over here."

We followed city hall protocol but was told the public works director did not want to address the alley on camera. We were given a copy of the city code. The city doesn't do alley ways. The homeowner is responsible for maintaining everything from the center of the alley, to their property. So in this instance, the city is violating its own ordinance.

The city acknowledged ownership and told us; a crew will be out, one day this week.

"I'm not saying you're supposed to take care of homeowner's property but, on your property, city property," Oliver said.

One way to enforce compliance from your neighbors to keep their area clean is to call the city at 646-0999 and just listen to the prompts.

It's a misdemeanor offense to allow vegetation to impede or threaten the safe movement of people and vehicles. You can also be fined if your grass is taller than 12 inches.

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