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Marley Neck Road eyesore has neighbors at wits' end County won't respond to complaints about abandoned house, they say


It's been about four years since the last tenants lived in the tiny stucco house at 2A Marley Neck Road. The boards on the windows have been torn down and replaced several times, the weeds have overgrown the yard. There are trees pushing through a front porch covered with broken beer bottles.

And the neighbors in the blue-collar enclave just off Baltimore and Annapolis Boulevard are sick of it.

"It's an eyesore in the neighborhood," grumbled Keith Adams, who lives across the street. "We've had to call the police a number of times for vandals and it attracts kids who hang out in there and drink and smoke pot. One night I went over there, it smelled like a glue factory."

Just as bad, the neighbors say, are the weeds that could attract rodents and overgrow their yards. And they complain that they can't get anyone to do anything about it.

"On May 8, I called the Health Department. The grass was up to my chest," said Beverly Bartlett, who moved into her new house next door in 1988.

"I called again on June 5 and the woman said she was the only one there," Bartlett recounted, reading from a page of notes. "So I called my councilman."

Carl "Dutch" Holland, the Republican who represents the area, said yesterday he was trying to contact the property owner, Ben Poe, a Pasadena businessman.

"I'm going to give him a chance to do what has to be done there," Holland said. "But if he's reluctant or doesn't do anything, then I'm going to turn it over to the county."

Poe failed to respond to messages left on his answering machine.

Bartlett said that the last tenants moved out of the house shortly after she moved into her new two-story house next door in December 1988.

"I was told then that the owner was going to remodel the place, but it hasn't happened yet," she said.

Meanwhile, the property has gone steadily downhill. Adams, who has lived across the street for three years, recalled at least two fires and said he called police because of disturbances at the house "four or five times last summer."

Bob Brooks, whose back yard adjoins the property, regularly cuts a swath of weeds about 10 yards wide to keep them from overgrowing his yard. And Harolyn Pfisterer, who also owns adjoining property, hacks away at the bushes that insinuate themselves around the privacy fence she put up three years ago.

"It's been one thing after another," Brooks said. "I cut the grass myself, I call police. The thing is, why should we have to continually call the county?"

Evelyn Stein, county Health Department spokeswoman, said the owner has complied with several orders to replace boards that had been pried from windows. Beyond that, she said, the Health Department "has no role."

Meanwhile, Ann Seiling, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, said officials there mailed a letter to Poe yesterday ordering him to have the weeds cut.

Poe has a little more than three weeks to cut the weeds, or county crews will do it and add their bill to his property tax bill next year, she said.

Still, Bartlett worries.

"Whenever I'm home alone at night, I worry about a prowler, that there's some hoodlum in there that could be watching me," she said. "It gives you a spooky feeling."

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