'Needs to go away': City of Melbourne filing lawsuit to clean-up nuisance home
MELBOURNE, Fla. - The City of Melbourne is cracking down on nuisance properties as neighbors plead for change.
Homeowners living near 4445 Sherwood Boulevard take pride in their properties but said they are fed up living next to a home they say has only been a nightmare. "What the kids call the zombie house," said Matthew More, who just bought a home in the neighborhood in January. Since then, he’s been shocked at the constant issues stemming from one home.
Neighbors say the house on Sherwood boulevard is plagued with problems. When we were there, there were piles of garbage in the yard and a burned-out RV. "It just needs to go away. Clean up the community. Get the drugs off the street," said Judy Creech who has lived in the neighborhood for 18 years. "Make it safer for the kids, so they can be out and ride their bicycles and do what kids are supposed to do."
The city of Melbourne says the homeowner has not cleaned up the property on his own, so on Tuesday, they approved a lawsuit to take over the property. "We’ve taken a proactive approach in the city to file lawsuits on these properties to force the foreclosures and to get this property turned over," exclaimed City of Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey.
Homeowners living near 4445 Sherwood Boulevard take pride in their properties but say they are fed up living next to a home they say has only been a nightmare.
FOX 35 News met the mayor at the home. He said he knows this neighborhood well. "I grew up in this neighborhood," he added. "As a matter of fact, my aunt lived right around the corner."
Alfrey’s devastated at what’s happening and the homeowner says he is too. While we were at the property on Tuesday, he came by and took us around the house to see the growing mess in the backyard. The homeowner said squatters have taken over, and now he can’t get them to leave."I’ve been trying for a while now. That’s why I came back here," said Gerald Emerson who owns the property.
People did pack up and leave the home, but the mayor says squatters are a growing problem in the city.
"The legal system just appears to be broken in situations like this," Alfrey said. "We have to go through steps, and one of the biggest steps a city can take is for the city to file a lawsuit, and we’ve done so."
The mayor says if you have a nuisance property in your neighborhood, you should immediately start documenting the issues and reach out to your local elected officials. It will take time, but there are ways to clean up the homes and improve the community.
"I just want this neighborhood to be safe for the next generations," concluded Vivian Pollard who says living next to the nuisance property affected her childhood.
Emerson now has 25 days to significantly clean up this property, and that’s when the city will move in and file its lawsuit. FOX 35 is going to track developments here at this home very closely and will update when changes are made.