Green Hills property owner Matt Hale called Channel 4 News’ I-Team to report an unkempt Lipscomb property after allegedly trying for three years to get the university to take action.
The story reported by aired on Channel 4 on July 13. The article states that within 48 hours of the I-Team getting involved, the issue was resolved, as Lipscomb sent crews to clean up the property.
In 2014, Lipscomb purchased the lot, located at the corner of Caldwell and Granny White. Lipscomb spokeswoman Kim Chaudoin said the property had no immediate intention upon its purchase, and the previous owner likely approached Lipscomb and offered to sell it to the school, despite Lipscomb having no set plans to build in that area.
“I think it was just an opportunity presented to us, and, honestly, was an opportunity to preserve,” Chaudoin said. “I’m sure you’ve seen what’s happening across the street where they will scrape a house and cram like two or three structures onto an itty-bitty lot, and this was one way where we could prevent that from happening — to keep a developer from coming in there and putting like four or five houses on this one little lot. So I think we have it right now just to preserve it from anything like that.”
Lipscomb filed a master plan with the state with the institutional overlay that shows what the school’s intentions are for buying property. Lipscomb has currently filed plans to buy houses between campus and Grandview. However, the part of Caldwell in which the lot in question sits is currently outside of the master plan for Lipscomb’s strategic growth in the next 30 years.
This property is kind of an “outlier,” as the lots surrounding it are not owned by Lipscomb. The property itself is only three quarters of an acre and is basically just an empty “field” with no structure on it.
Although the property was not being maintained regularly and despite the University having no future plans for the property, Chaudoin said the property will now be on a regular upkeep schedule.
“Some of that would come out of our facilities department, and of course, our primary responsibility would be to our students and the residence halls and things like that” Chaudoin said. “Kind of depending on like, if it’s a rental property, and a pilot light goes out in a gas stove, I think our maintenance folks put that on their list of things to fix.”
For rental properties, Lipscomb contracts with a landscaping company, as it does for regular campus lawn care. However, the lot will not be on a weekly mowing schedule such as it is on campus, but rather mowed every couple of months, or based on need.
Chaudoin personally did not know a lot about the background of the conversations with Hale or the the nature of the calls, but said she was surprised when it was brought to her attention that Channel 4’s I-Team was investigating the situation.
“It always surprises me when people’s — and not that the media doesn’t have power — but when people’s next natural step is to call the media, but I guess they felt like they didn’t really have another recourse,” Chaudoin said. “They did not call codes, which a lot of times people would call Metro codes. There are codes for how property can be maintained and how high grass can be, so I think it surprised me maybe a little bit, but, honestly, in today’s day and time, nothing should surprise me. It was a new experience.”
Photo courtesy of Channel 4 News