TURKEY — Blight issues continue to concern residents, but town leaders are making efforts through enforcement.
During a Tuesday meeting, commissioners took action on plans to change a ordinance to make the town look better. The matter was previously discussed during a previous meeting. Residents were concerned about the town’s appearance, which is visible on Highway 24, which is heavily used road for motorist.
“Our town looks like trash,” one resident blurted out during the meeting. “It’s looking like pure trash.”
Code Enforcer Lyle Moore made a presentation and discussed the ordinance after researching rules from Newton Grove, Garland, Salemburg and Roseboro. Turkey’s legal council suggested that the town use guidelines from the City of Clinton’s Section 11-10 as an example.
A portion of it reads: “It shall be unlawful to maintain any property, vacant or otherwise upon which there is an uncontrolled growth of noxious weeds, grasses, or bushes to a height in excess of 10 inches and causing or threatening to cause infestation by rats, mice, snakes or vermin of any kind or constituting a fire hazard or which is in any way detrimental to the public health, morals, safety or general welfare…”
Another portion states that it’s unlawful to maintain property which has rubbish, waste, stagnant ponds and fallen trees to such an extent that it is causing infestation or a fire hazard risk. It is similar to a section in Turkey’s existing policy, but is more detailed regarding the maintenance of rubbish, weeds, long grass and other concerns. It does not apply to planted flowers, shrubbery, crops, property not reasonably accessible to power mowing equipment and undeveloped parcels greater than 5 acres in size.
Following the presentation, commissioners unanimously agreed to schedule a public hearing in February to amend an officials ordinance.
In the future, town leaders will follow up by looking at laws to address issues with untagged vehicles and law enforcement taking action in the future. It was one of several blight matters discussed. In December, resident Camille Dunn was ordered to remove an abundance of items from her property. Town leaders said it’s been an ongoing matter for several years. Dunn said the issues involved a tree that was cut down by a neighbor.
Since the last meeting, Moore said she complied and removed stuff that was considered a nuisance by many. He said letters ordering residents to clean up their property were sent to several others as well.
During the public comment part of the meeting, several residents continued to voice their concerns and frustrations regarding blight issues such as piles of excavated dirt, broken tree limbs, mobile homes and trailers. Some questioned if town leaders were doing enough to make the town look better.
“We added the ordinance,” Mayor Donald Myers said while answering questions about maintenance. “I just try to keep it up and maintain it.”
He also said that the town is continuing to search for grants to improve the town. Myers said one of the issues involving the appearance was a railroad sidetrack, next to Highway 24. A piece of the sidetrack was removed and some pieces of equipment were left behind by officials involved in the process. Myers suggested that a petition should be created to get rid of it.
“If we can move the railroad track, we’ll have it looking a lot better,” Myers said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.