TURNER STATION — A local civic activist and beloved community member is concerned about a “nuisance home” that has been vacant for almost two decades in Turner Station.
Larry Bannerman, longtime resident and board member of Turner Station Conservation Teams, is sounding the alarm about the situation at 4 South Lane.
In the picture provided, one can barely tell there’s a structure on the lot. It looks like a miniature forest — something straight out of “Little Shop of Horrors.”
“The home has become enveloped in weeds, vines, trees growing through the roof,” said Bannerman.
Bannerman has contacted the property owner, and another neighbor complained to the County Executive’s office, which resulted in an initial three-day attempt at clearing the overgrowth and debris.
Turner Station residents say that previous calls to code enforcement did not result in action.
“We know there are snakes, rats, ground hogs and raccoons inhabiting the property. There’s potential asbestos and other chemical hazards. The home has been vacant for 19 years,” Bannerman said.
Bannerman is concerned for the health of the surrounding community, as there are many unknowns about the vacant structure. Residents who live nearby have witnessed potentially dangerous critters, including snakes, terrorize their properties.
The pests are coming from inside the South Lane house.
“We know that raccoons can carry rabies,” Bannerman told The Dundalk Eagle. “And we know this home has never seen asbestos abatement. Snakes and raccoons are leaving this property and foraging at neighbors’ homes. Hazard to health is constant.”
The county recently took action after a neighbor, Linwood Jackson, contacted the Baltimore County Executive’s office.
After that complaint, a crew of three men worked for days to clear the vegetation.
“The vegetation was so high that neighbors could not see that shopping carts were in the yard,” said Bannerman. “I personally spoke with the neighbor next door who said a four-foot snake crawled out of the vegetation and onto his driveway.”
Jackson praised the County Executive’s office for taking swift action, where calls to code enforcement seem to have failed.
Pete Kriscumas, assistant to the Baltimore County Executive, attended the last Turner Station community meeting and said that this nuisance home problem exists throughout Baltimore County. Swift action, he said, would require legal and policy changes.
“At that meeting, we learned that at least three people, including Lyons Homes, attempted to buy the property,” said Bannerman. “But the owners refuse to sell. I really do not know why the owners moved. This was a beautiful property with great potential.”
The community activist received a letter from Derek Jenkins recently about the South Lane home.
Jenkins is the son and nephew of the property’s owners.
“I’m reaching out in reference to the property on South Lane,” Jenkins wrote.
“My mom and uncles share ownership of the property. I apologize on behalf of them and myself. The property should be maintained, not neglected. I will reach out to my uncles and mom in regards to the upkeep of the property. This is embarrassing — not to only me, but the community as well.”
Bannerman, Jackson and the rest of the surrounding community is hopeful that the house will be fully maintained in the future.
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