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Dear Editor,
We have been the topic of conversation in many areas in the past few weeks. Some good, some bad, some don’t have a clue what they are talking about! No one really knows what has transpired between the City of Vinton and us. It has been quite the ride.
When we moved to Vinton it had been several years since either one of us had lived in “town”. We received a notice to abate for grass/weeds too tall next to the RR tracks in 2014. Really, have you looked down the tracks either way? Is it because it is grass and not weeds? So, we acquired a weed eater on wheels. There are large rocks and miscellaneous things next to the tracks that could hurt you or the mower if you hit them. There were also miscellaneous items we needed to put up. So, we did and that was that. That was sent by Chief Tilson. It was done correctly, the notice sent, pictures included, we knew what was expected of us.
The next year, Chief Paxton was in the yard to the south taking pictures. We asked him what he was doing, and he replied taking photos, there has been a complaint. So, the Chief of Police is out taking photos because somebody complained of our yard. He makes $60,000+ a year, around $28 an hour and he is taking photos of our grass. We received a notice that our grass is too long by tracks, and we had somethings that needed put away, Really? The first thing that was wrong- There were no pictures with notice. Second, when you request a hearing with The City Council/or council person, it is to be in front of an impartial person, both sides present their evidence, and this is the first that this impartial person hears about your issue. Quasijudicial!
Well, the council already knew the story, the Chief’s version, and it had already been decided we were a nuisance property. We asked to see photos, and this is the picture the Chief put on the projector, bigger than life, to show our nuisance grass. This is a copy of the photo he put on the projector. If you look, you see the RR tracks are behind the weeds/grass. That picture shows weeds/grass on the neighbor’s side and is not ours, yet we received a notice to abate weeds/grass based on this photo. We believe that since we pointed out that our side was grass and mowed to the tracks since we had already been warned about our side, that this embarrassed the photographer! We took several photos from our neighborhood, curious because we were the only house that received a notice and we were not the only ones with “junk”! Our “junk” was hard to see unless you were trespassing or looking from a second story window. These are a sampling of the photos we took to City Council, all from our neighborhood, a two-block area, the RR tracks (7th street, remember that tracks run on a street, it will be important at a later time) are the center of the area. At the time Mayor Watson was going to do a walk through the neighborhood and we would return to the further discuss our property. This was in 2015. When we returned, they told us we need to trim grass around our fence and tidy up next to our garage. We had a net strung across as a pseudo fence, it resembled a chain link fence, but the Council did not like it and wanted it removed. We did and that is when we put up the steel fence.
NOTHING was said or done about any of the other properties in our neighborhood. We enquired about a couple of them to the directly to the owners and they did not receive any word from the City Council.
At that point, we had a feeling it was personal. The “code enforcers” had some kind of feeling about their authority being questioned, embarrassment about the picture, and it didn’t matter what other properties in our neighborhood looked like “we are talking about your property” was their response.
Would you have felt any different than we did?? That is how this began….
Tim and Jane Osborn
Attached are photos the Osborns said that they took to the City Council, and "nothing was said to any of the property owners. Each is a photo of a different property" according to the Osborns.

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