Wright citizens bring in petition

Several citizens of Wright were present at the Ford County Commission meeting on Monday morning with a petition in hand, determined to better their community.

According to a community member, Tim Slattery, the Wright community has been trying to contact the owner of a very unkempt property since 2007, and it is now causing problems in their community.

“This owner has trailers in the backyard and a puppy mill in the garage and goats, she’s been out at that property for years,” says Slattery. “We’re trying to get something done, and she won’t even let anyone come in and voluntarily clean it up.

“We have to clean that back up to code or tear it down. It sits right next to our church property and it’s a total ice storm. It’s just something that needs to be improved.”

Mark Shriwise with Ford County planning and zoning explained details to the commissioners at the meeting on Monday.

“A guy by the name of Douglas Walker owned the place, then somewhere down the line at about 2012 to 2014, a lady named Carol Slovacek kind of agreed by this contract,” said Shriwise. “I’ve added up numerous calls, I wrote numerous letters to Mr. Walker, and he did not really know what was going on at this place until I told him about it. She has not responded back to any of my phone calls. I’ve had 4H groups wanting to clean it up, I’ve contacted Carol and she has not really done anything on her property.”

The property in question is located at 11790 Jewell Road in Wright.

“I’ve consulted the gentleman who wrote our regulations, and he says the only thing we have to do on this deal is we have to declare it a nuisance of our environmental code,” said Shriwise. “After that, we could probably do something about it, whether that means cleaning it up, demolishing it or condemning it. We also have to review all other codes that might apply to it too, but that’s a step that we probably have to take in order to get it. Other than that, there’s not much you can do.”

According to Shriwise, Slovacek mentioned that she would sell her property, but for a very costly price.

Commissioner Chris Boys then asked Shriwise if he was able to get ahold of Slovacek, Shriwise then confirmed that he wasn’t able to get in direct contact, and that piece of information was just what he had heard.

“We did have a zoning board case, and at one time she was wanting to put a puppy mill down on 123 Road down by Ford," Shriwise said. “She actually purchased the land but never paid for it, so they ended up taking it back.”

Commissioner Shawn Tasset then questioned Shriwise on his methods of contacting Slovacek.

“Most of my emails were back in 2007 or 2012,” Shriwise responded. “I’ve written letters to Mr. Walker, and I’ve also tried to get an access property agreement to keep us from getting sued in going across through her property.”

Tasset then made a suggestion.

“My suggestion is number one, we take away the opportunity for any plausible deniability and get certified mail that says that she acknowledges that she has received some notice from us that we have a problem,” he said. “We can start there, and we can research our environmental code or our health code, that way we establish that we have opened up a line of communication with her and we have proven that we have done that. We would have a starting point and we can say ‘look, we’ve tried.’

“Right now, all she is doing is ignoring us, and if we can’t get anything done by her ignoring us then we need to somehow make it to where she can’t.”

Boys then added that he feels the previous owners of the property, Douglas and Addie Walker, should also be notified.

“I think with this petition from the citizens of Wright, it basically says that it is obviously not a piece of property they want in their community,” Boys said. “We need to notify the owners to bring it up to code or tear that property down.”

From there, Tasset made a motion and all three commissioners approved this pursuit.

To contact the writer of this story, email egarcia@dodgeglobe.com.