Boulder Property Owner To Decide Next Move After City Rejects Land Offer

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An Athens homeowner is deciding what his next move will be after city officials rejected his offer to give Athens ownership of the land that a boulder fell from in March.

Michael Weiser said he thought he was doing the right thing by his offering the land to the city.

However, the city's rejection of his proposal means Weiser is still responsible for the hillside even though he said he has no expertise or resources to be able to handle it.

"I can go out there with a hammer and a chisel but that's about the extent of my knowledge of how to take care of this," he said.

The City of Athens maintains that the hillside is private property and is at least 60 feet out of the public right away.

Weiser claims the history of the land, which was cultivated by the Athens Brick Company, should free him of responsibility.

"Ultimately I'm the property owner and I get that. But I didn't create this hillside. I didn't allow this hillside to be created. I didn't benefit from how this hillside was created and now I'm stuck with this," said Weiser.

But the city disagrees with Weiser's position.

"Yes, we're dealing with history, and we're dealing with what is in existence. I don't feel Mr. Weiser was unaware that there was a hillside he was purchasing when he was purchasing the property," said Paula Horan-Moseley, Athens service-safety director.

Weiser said he thinks this incident should have been a wakeup call for the city.

"We're all just darn lucky that no one got killed the first time. If that happens, there's bound to be litigation all over the place," he said. "Why are we waiting for that eventuality?"

The City of Athens says it plans projects to prevent road slip in dangerous areas, but this incident is unlike one they have seen before.

"A rock falling off the side of a hill onto our public right of way is a different beast," said Moseley.

Last week, the city notified Weiser that a tree on his property has slipped.

A city report indicates that the tree hasn't moved any more.