Problem Solvers investigate lack of action by Germantown code enforcement

Problem Solvers

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — As Christopher Ward looks out over his property from the deck in his backyard, he can’t help but say, “this is not what I picture in my mind living in Germantown.”

From his back patio, he can see the mess that’s piled up over the years in his next-door neighbor’s backyard: overgrown weeds, shipping containers and abandoned construction.

“The last five years have been a little hectic,” Ward said. “I filed multiple complaints with Germantown, they always told me something was gonna be done about it but the same behavior always happened.”

The WREG Problem Solvers obtained more than 100 documents showing complaints and citations at the property at 3371 Forest Hill Irene Road dating back to 2014.

Ward says that’s when a new neighbor moved in.

“They did a lot of renovations. Later on, things just went the opposite direction. They didn’t keep up the landscape and had five or six dogs that used to run into my yard,” Ward said.

The citations from over the years report high grass, weeds, building debris, furniture on the front porch and cars parked on the lawn.

Code enforcement officers even documented a photo of the cars on the lawn in 2015.

Most of the time, follow-up paperwork shows the property was brought “into compliance,” most recently in October 2019.

But then in June 2020, complaints and citations come up again. Ward said the complaints came from him and he got tired of waiting.

“Why do you think nothing is happening?” we asked.

“I really don’t know why. I hate to assume,” he said.

That’s why he called the WREG Problem Solvers.

WREG immediately sent an email about the property to Germantown officials.

It appeared it had an impact; documents showed the next day, code enforcement sent a letter to the owner of the property, Karla Perrizo. In it, they say the building permit has expired and the city will take action if it doesn’t get cleaned up.

Then, Ward sent us a video of contractors mowing the lawn.

And then after we made one call to Team Waste, he reported the company picked up the dumpster in his next-door neighbor’s front yard.

A Germantown spokesperson responded to the Problem Solvers’ email about the lawn mowing, saying “The property owner will be billed for that work. If there is another incident and the City has to send out a contractor a second time, then the property owner will be summoned to court.”

“How many citations do you have to get until it gets to court? I know myself if I have as many citations as they say they’ve given this neighbor, I’d have been sent to court,” Ward said.

We’ve tried reaching owner Karla Perrizo multiple times to ask that question but never heard back.

Apparently though, she has been in touch with Germantown officials, who declined our request for an interview but told us: “Contact was established with a representative of the owner and action is being taken to maintain the property.”

Ward says the work of the Problem Solvers has paid off.

“It now has activities going on where trying to get this resolved. Beforehand, I think Germantown was ignoring me,” he said.

He showed off a much neater yard next door and reason for hope for the future: the owner put the house up for sale shortly after we started asking questions.

“Hopefully get a good neighbor to move in and be a good neighbor by keeping up the property,” he said. “I appreciate Channel 3 for getting involved and making it happen.”

Ward said Germantown officials should still do what he called “the right thing” and take the current owner to court. The Problem Solvers have asked them repeatedly about those efforts, but as of this week, a city representative said they were still discussing next steps.

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