City files public nuisance suit against property owner - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FIRST ON 3: City files public nuisance suit against property owner

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The City of Chattanooga and a local neighborhood group have filed suit against a business allegedly spilling waste into the Tennessee River.

"When you enter the neighborhood this is what you see," said Mike Brown, entering the gate to Windward Cove subdivision, near Highway 58.

Mosquitoes, mud, and muck. It's an unexpected welcome from a gated waterfront neighborhood, with multi-million dollar homes.

"The water tends to come across the street, going down towards the lake," said Brown, "unfortunately it's just an eyesore, it's a mess, it's just a big mud hole."

The Windward Cove Homeowners' Association filed suit Wednesday in Hamilton County Circuit Court against Dart Properties, LLC.

The company purchased the empty lot in 2009, after the previous owner fell behind on property taxes.

Since that time, a broken drainage pipe has caused a small pond to form.

According to the lawsuit, it spills silt into the Tennessee River.

"If the city had done years ago what they were supposed to have done, the neighborhood would not have to deal with the situation now," said Brown.

Brown, a resident of Windward Cove, says it didn't have to come to this.

Records obtained by Channel 3 show the city fined Dart Properties for ordinance violations in the past.

Councilman Peter Murphy says the law only allows the city to do so much.

"Until the legislature fixes that limitation, that constitutional limitation, you're going to see cities like Chattanooga go to court and sue people over ordinance violations," he told Channel 3.

That's exactly what's happening.

The city has joined in the public nuisance suit.

Channel 3 attempted to reach Robert Stanard, who is named as a defendant in the suit with Dart Properties.

Stanard's neighbor couldn't tell us how to find him.

"It's been a long while, I mean it's been a year or so, about two years (since I've seen him)," said Lisa Robinson, who says Stanard was her landlord, "and we don't know how to get in contact with him."

The address for Dart Properties, which may have dissolved in 2011, led to another dead end.

Murphy says he isn't sure if the company has been served.

The lawsuit asks a judge to allow the homeowners' association entry to the property to fix the drainage problem, and for reimbursement for the cost.

The city is also asking Dart Properties be mandated to pay for all litigation expenses.

Stay with for updates to this developing story.

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