When your neighbor's yard is messy, getting them to clean it up can be a touchy subject. But for one family in Franklin, that neighbor is a city alderman.
Franklin City Alderman Mike Skinner admits this is embarrassing, but he feels that whether his yard is a mess is a matter of taste.
Stacy Whitson says she still has scars from last year's mosquito bites - mosquitoes, she thinks, are coming from her next door neighbor's overgrown yard.
"I got ate up last year. I'm getting eat up this year, too," Whitson said. "I don't want West Nile virus."
She has filed a complaint with the city over the condition of Skinner's backyard.
Now, he's going to get a visit from his own codes department.
"Its embarrassing because I'm a public figure, yeah," Skinner said.
Skinner says he just likes a more natural backyard, not so manicured.
"Rather than cones and spheres and squares," he said.
The alderman's back yard is screened from his neighbor's view by a privacy fence. You have to climb on a step stool to get a view, and that complicates things for the codes department.
"It changes how we investigate. They have privacy rights and Fourth Amendment rights," said Chris Bridgewater, with Franklin City and Neighborhood Services.
Bridgewater says an inspector didn't see any problems from the street and they'll ask Skinner if they can look in his backyard.
"We'll treat him like any other citizen. That's what he would expect as well," Bridgewater said.
"I'm a regular person. I don't expect special consideration," Skinner said.
Skinner says he'll get his yard cleaned up in a couple of weeks.
"Mike's a nice guy. We like Mike. As an alderman, we expect him to hold himself to a higher standard," Whitson said.
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