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Retired PB firefighter enjoys new role in White Hall

Eddie Parsley acknowledged settling in with his new job as White Hall’s code enforcement and building inspector Monday, with Mayor Noel Foster describing the combined post and Parsley a “win-win” for the municipality.

Parsley retired March 1 after 24-years with the Pine Bluff Fire Department and has been working full time for White Hall this month. Previously he worked part time for several months around his fire department duty shifts.

Because of Parsley’s many talents, Foster said, he will prove invaluable in enforcing a 2012 nuisance abatement and property maintenance ordinance.

Parsley was also named deputy fire chief and can drive fire trucks and other firefighting apparatus to fires to speed up the response time to alarms, Foster said.

Parsley said he views enforcement of the 2012 ordinance as a way “to protect the safety of the public. Keeping weeds and grass mowed helps maintain a healthy and safe environment.”

It also helps protect property values in White Hall, he added.

“Building permits help us make sure structures are safe and the proper setbacks and restrictive covenants are being followed,” he added.

He used code enforcement in a recent case involving a structure near the intersection of Dollarway and Hoadley roads as an example, noting that the roof had collapsed and a number of windows were broken.

By working with the property owner, Parsley explained, the structure was secured “and the public’s safety protected.”

There is sound reasoning behind encouraging property owners to keep grass and weeds mowed below eight inches, he added.

“Overgrown lots and property can hide a number of things, from rodents to being a fire hazard,” he explained.

When he encounters a problem, Parsley said he issues a verbal warning, followed by a letter describing the violation and need to correct a violation within a designated time frame.

The regulations can be confusing to laymen, he noted, citing several vacant lots in the Woodlands residential subdivision. Two lots in the subdivision “are still wooded and do not have to be maintained (mowed), but those lots that have been cleared must be maintained.”

He said cooperative property owners can “help keep the city as nice as it is. That means everyone from the property owner to the public benefits.”