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Tree growing in downtown building

A downtown Dothan business owner says she's fighting an uphill battle.The owner of "A Place to Renew" says her neighbor's property is causing major damage to her building.

Louise Motzenbecker spent almost half of 2008 renovating her downtown business," A Place to Renew.”The building is near the corner of South Saint Andrews and Main Street. It's also sandwiched between two empty buildings.  The buildings even share some of the same walls. Motzenbecker said locating her business to downtown Dothan was a dream come true, but her dream is quickly becoming a nightmare."There's a tree growing in my building and it's taking over the walls in my handicapped bathroom.”

There's nothing Motzenbecker can do about the growing tree, because it's on her neighbor's property. Along with the tree, there's water damage in the bathroom. The floors are collapsing. She said the water is also coming through the walls." Even if we try to repair the floors it wouldn't do any good, because the tree has to be removed from the back of the wall."

Motzenbecker has been asking her neighbor to fix the problem.  After months of back and forth they finally trimmed the tree, but didn't remove it. The tree is still growing.  It's now costing Motzenbecker money. "I want to rent out the rooms here and I can't rent out the rooms if we don’t have a functional bathroom. Also, I'm really concerned there's going to be a structural issue with that wall if that tree continues to grow,” she continued.
 
Motzenbecker tried to enlist the help of the city, but her problem isn't considered a public nuisance by the city's standards.  Todd McDonald with Planning and Development said after looking at the building Thursday afternoon it appears to be a private property issue, but they’re planning to take another look. The attorney for the neighbors also said he plans to look into the problem.

 Meanwhile; Motzenbecker is starting to have buyer’s remorse.  “Had I known that we were going to go through all this I would have never done it.”

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