UPDATE: Citation dismissed against Mr. T's Tires after steps taken to combat mosquitoes
A city court judge dismissed a citation against a local tire shop for improperly storing tires.
UPDATE: A city court judge dismissed a citation against a local tire shop for improperly storing tires.
Neighbors filed complaints for the past two years saying Mr. T's Tires on Lee Highway was contributing to a mosquito problem in the area.
An attorney representing the business said a city inspector testified during a hearing he didn't see evidence of an infestation last week.
"They cover the tires. That's particle board that is water resistant and waterproof, and they also paint the tops of the tire toppers and that is what my client does to resolve the issue of the water getting in the tires that are stored outdoors," Phil Fleenor said.
The business also sprays bleach on the tires and pays for an exterminator.
Glen Meadows, who has been among the residents filing the complaints against Mr. T's, told Eyewitness News, "It has taken two years of calling the City Council and 311, three City Court appearances, and multiple citations to get anything done. We are thankful for the progress, and we hope it will make a difference. If not, we will be back."
PREVIOUS STORY: Neighbors in one Chattanooga community claim a nearby tire business is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the city agrees.
Code enforcement is now teaming up with residents to ask city leadership for help.
In response to those complaints, Mr. T's Tires on Lee Highway covered their tires with plywood and brought out an exterminator to get rid of the mosquitoes. People living nearby hope that's enough, but say it took too long.
They want the business to follow the law.
Kristi McCormick and her neighbors on Silverdale Road are hesitant to go outside when temperatures heat up.
"We've got children out here that want to play and it's a scary situation," McCormick said.
She worries about her three children catching a disease from mosquitoes.
"I've spent hundreds of dollars on treatment for the mosquitoes. Nothing has helped," McCormick said.
She believes the problem is coming from Mr. T's tires. The manager told Channel 3 he isn't convinced his tires are to blame.
"It's not like 'hey, we're trying to put mosquitoes out here for everybody to get attacked. We don't like them ourselves and that's why we're doing everything we can to prevent it from being a problem," Daniel Johnston, a manager said.
Records show the city has cited Johnston's father, Randy, for how the business stores tires. People living near the shop have also filed complaints with the city about the business.
Glen Meadows has children and grandchildren that live in the neighborhood.
"It's come to a point where the community is just like 'we have got to have some help,'" Meadows said.
Chattanooga's Office of Economic and Community Development filed the most recent citation.
This is a look at the city code:
Sec. 11-496. - Storage of tires.
Tire Businesses shall properly store tires at each facility in accordance with local, state, and federal law to present. Each tire business shall at all times during storage:
Store all tires intended for resale in such a manner so as to prevent potential nuisances of litter, insect breeding, fire hazards, standing water, and other health risks;
Store tires not intended for resale in covered or enclosed areas, or under an impermeable cover, in accordance with applicable health and safety laws, including but not limited to the City's fire prevention code, to prevent the accumulation of water;
Accumulate all tires in piles in accordance with the City's fire prevention code;
Isolate all tires from other stored materials that may create hazardous products if there is a fire, including, but not limited to, lead acid batteries, fuel tanks, solvent barrels, and pesticide containers.
Store no more than one hundred (100) tires in each bay or one hundred (100) tires per one thousand five hundred (1,500) square feet of inside storage space.
A similar citation was dismissed in August of 2017.
The administrator issued the following statement:
"The City of Chattanooga's commercial property and tire codes are in place to create the safest, healthiest, and most attractive public realm possible, without infringing on the rights of private property owners or business operators. Our code enforcement officers have repeatedly cited this property for various violations of our codes, per these ordinances, and we share in the public's frustration at this property owner's non-compliance with our requests.
This is now a matter for the courts to address, and we join with the public in hoping that we see this matter fully resolved very soon."
"We have always had the tires at our location outside. There's never been an undercover," Johnston said.
It's now up to a city court judge to address.
"Summer is coming and we'd like for the kids to go outside and play," McCormick said.
"Hope it all can get resolved," Johnston said.
Johnston's attorney said they are contesting the citation.
The case will be heard in city court on May 3.