Missouri homeowner ignores years of requests to maintain property, neighbors say

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WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. (KTVI) – A house and surrounding yard in suburban St. Louis have been neglected for more than a decade, and neighbors are complaining.

“Nobody can tell him what to do. He’s a very individual kind of person,” said resident Ken Carp, who says the property has been neglected for 16 years. “If you can afford the kind of taxes people pay in Webster on your real estate, you can afford to cut your grass.”

Carp says it’s not only unsightly but also dangerous when you consider standing water and overgrown trees threatening power lines.

“You can see the mold all over the front of the house,” he said.

The homeowner’s only response was, “I like it this way!”

Two other neighbors, who were unidentified, said they’ve complained for at least a decade.

Webster’s City Attorney Neil Bruntrager said in an email to the mayor, “The history of this property goes back to 2004. There have been constant visits, even during the time of COVID.”

Carp said those visits never result in action.

“Webster likes to talk about being warm and fuzzy and everyone getting along and if they took any kind of action, it would suggest they’re not that warm and fuzzy people,” he said.

Webster Groves Mayor Gerry Welch says the city has tried involving social services and even the police. She said she, too, is frustrated by the lack of action.

Last week, she asked the city attorney what other steps Webster Groves can take, and Bruntrager answered that they can cut the grass, remove debris and bill the homeowner. He also mentioned a “nuclear option,” writing, “In extreme circumstances where public safety is an issue, the city has the power to condemn the property.”

Carp says he’s skeptical. “My speculation would be they’re worried about the bad press of doing something to somebody,” he said.

Bruntrager said Webster Groves will take court action if necessary, but for now, will continue to see if the homeowner will accept help.

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