Family calls code enforcement for months about vacant lot; turns to FOX13 for help

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A snake hanging out at the front door was the final straw for a family frustrated that they can’t get the city to act against the owner of a vacant lot overrun with tall grass and weeds.

Rhonda Mitchell said the snake left her mother shaken.

“She took off running, inside the house of course. She was inside but it frightened her,” said Mitchell, who believes the snake came from the vacant lot next door that has become an eyesore.

Her mother called the City of Memphis Code Enforcement but when that didn’t work, Mitchell turned to FOX 13.

Mitchell said her mother called 311 code enforcement starting in April asking the city to make the property owner mow the lot. She even gave us copies of notes showing how often she has called 311 to vent and who she spoke to.

According to her notes, Mitchell’s mother called three times beginning April 8, 2021. Mitchell said the operator told her mom the case was in progress.

“When she calls, that is the answer she is constantly given,” Mitchell said.

FOX13 emailed the City of Memphis and it replied that Code Enforcement is looking into the issue. We gave them the ticket number from Code Enforcement that Rhonda’s mother kept. We relayed how often she called. A spokesperson told us it is possible someone wrote down the wrong address and that caused the delay.

“So, you mean all these people that are listed on the paper have made this mistake? Oh, unacceptable. Unacceptable,” said Mitchell.

FOX13 was told a Code Enforcement inspector will send a notice to the lot owner to mow his property. He has one a week to get the job done after receiving the notice. If not, the City will hire a contractor to mow the lot and bill the owner.

Media Affairs Manager for the City of Memphis Arlenia Cole told FOX13, “as a reminder, private property owners are responsible for the maintenance of their properties.”