HANNIBAL (WGEM) — Imagine having a house in your neighborhood that isn’t being taken care of, and possibly driving down your home’s value, then, being told there’s nothing anyone can do about it. That’s the case some Marion County residents said they face
Residents off Brook Road just outside Hannibal said most of the properties in the neighborhood look like clean and well taken care of. But there’s one property on Brook which residents said has been allegedly under construction for around 7 years, and it’s not just this property they’re worried about in the area.
“The house burned in 2013, about a year later it was taken over by a gentleman who is a contractor, and it has been in various stages of construction since that time and that’s a long time to be sitting there looking the mess that it is,” said homeowner Donna Braden.
Braden and neighbors said the property off Brook and another behind Braden’s home off Head Lane have been being worked on off and on for years by Robert Bemis.
Bemis said he’s working to get the properties fixed and declined to comment further.
“We’re not in the city limits, we’re in the county, there’s no home owners association, we’ve tried talking to him, we’ve done petitions, we’ve talked with our commissioner,” said Braden.
Larry Welch, Marion County Commissioner for the Eastern District, said unfortunately there isn’t much they can do.
“There’s no rules they’re breaking as far as the county is concerned, so they’re able to do whatever they want to and take their time doing it, there’s just no way we can force them to move any faster,” said Welch.
He said he’s willing to talk with the owners of the properties but that’s all he would really be allowed to do.
“But I am going to speak to them and see if they have any plans about finishing up the project and getting it cleaned up a little bit,” said Welch.
For Braden, who said she’s looking to downsize in the future, she just wants to be able to get what her home is really worth.
“[Bemis is] a nice enough guy– but I don’t understand why he doesn’t have the insight to see that it’s effecting his neighbors,” said Braden.
Other residents expressed similar concerns Braden did.
Comissioner Welch said Marion County’s status as a “Third class county” limits their ability to make new rules regarding these types of situations.