‘An unfortunate situation’: Building owners cleaning up former tenant’s illegal tire dump

Published 3:29 pm Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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Cleanup is underway at the former Betsy Used Tires and Batteries location, where thousands of dumped and discarded tires have accumulated on the property for several years.
“I spoke with the contractor yesterday and he’s estimating there are 10,000 to 12,000 tires at this time, including what was inside the building,” said Jeremiah Tolley, Elizabethton Fire Marshal.
City officials have been working since January to have the tires removed from the 332 W. Elk Ave. business, where towers of discarded tires have created both an eyesore along the Tweetsie Trail and a hazard for the community.
Tolley said while the city had addressed the issue of abandoned tires multiple times with business owner Tim Zimmerman since 2012, the issues escalated in January when Zimmerman became unresponsive. In May, a judge added a $50 per day fine for failing to remove the tires.
“His fines would be near $6,000 now,” Tolley said.
As of July 1, property owners Barbara and Fred Zeidan had evicted Zimmerman and were undertaking the cleanup process themselves.
“It’s an unfortunate situation for the property owners,” Tolley said, adding that the Zeidans will bear the expense of the cleanup.
“I don’t know what they will be paying, but I had received a rough estimate earlier … and it was around $30,000,” Tolley said.
The Zeidans operated a gas station at the location and, when they retired, decided to lease the building to Zimmerman for his tire business. “It’s definitely been hard on us as property owners,” Barbara said in June. “This has really impacted our health dramatically.”
Tolley said city officials had been searching unsuccessfully for a way to help offset the expense faced by the Zeidans. “Everybody has been looking for something, but we haven’t really found anything …”

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