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It seems to be a summer tradition of the Fredericksburg City Hall beat. Every year about this time, Mayfield resident Gary Gray comes to City Council meetings to plead for something to be done about a derelict landlord next-door to him: railroad giant CSX.
Kelly Hannon wrote about Gray’s plight about a year ago. Gray lives next to a CSX rail spur on New Kent Street. He first visited council members in 2006 to complain that CSX had left a railcar out to rot behind his home for quite a while. The company removed that car, but before long, it returned with a friend. So last year, as Hannon wrote, he went to council about the two cars, and CSX later removed them.
But the railroad company still isn’t keeping up its property. Today, Gray has come to the meeting with pictures of trash, trees growing up between railroad ties and generally overgrown property next to him. He said vagrants hang out on the unkept-up property. He’s tired of it, and he wonders why the city can’t do anything about it, especially since he sees city crews mowing grass on other overgrown properties in his neighborhood.
"I have to pay my property taxes. I have to maintain my property. My child can’t play in my backyard unless I am standing out there," Gray said at tonight’s meeting. "If I have to maintain my property to the standards of the city, so should CSX."
City staff indicated they’d look into it. This kind of blight is a little different from others we’ve written about, but the city does have a law set up specifically for absentee landlords who can’t be prodded into action through more conventional methods.