A couple facing condemnation of their Isaac Weeks Road property has been given two additional weeks to make substantial repairs, with a final ultimatum given by city officials earlier this week.
James and Sherri White’s property, located at 1172 Isaac Weeks Road, Clinton, was deemed unsafe by city officials, who put the structure through its Unsafe Buildings Condemned process earlier this year. That process was initiated due to complaints from adjoining property owners, who voiced concerns about the condition of the structure as well as animals in and out of the property.
Neighbors David and Shirley Williams said the home has been an eyesore for years, calling it “very unsightly, hazardous and unsanitary.” She said they presented several proposals to the White family over the years in attempt to alleviate the issue, to no avail.
The City Council said in May that substantial progress had to occur prior to this week’s regular June meeting to avoid condemnation and demolition. That didn’t happen. James White said he was not aware until May 31 that he needed a permit and said weather was to blame for the delay in work, which began in earnest this week.
“I got started a little late,” White said. “It took us a while to get going. The weather has been ridiculous.”
Council members expressed disappointment with the lack of work, with Councilmen Darue Bryant and Daniel Ruggles being the most vocal. Council ultimately voted to allow a two-week extension, but members said another likely won’t be forthcoming regardless of the weather.
The matter will be revisited at a special City Council meeting on June 19, where the 2018-19 budget is expected to be adopted.
White grew up at the house, which belonged to his grandfather. He said it’s going to look like his grandfather’s old house when he gets through with it. As of the Council meeting, thousands of dollars had already been spent toward shoring up problems and making fixes.
“We have been working on this,” said Sherri White. “We aren’t telling you a lie.”
Owners whose properties have been deemed unsafe are given time to repair the unsafe aspects of the building or demolish it all together. The declaration was made in January, with 60 days given. Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary M. Rose said no repairs were made in the 60 days that followed, leading to the request to have the house demolished. The matter came to the Council in May, at which a month was given to make substantial repairs.
That motion was again made this week, with the Council echoing its motion and setting June 19 as a deadline for sizable repairs to be made, including a new roof, new windows and the lot cleared.
“I want it to look like a different house,” said Councilman Neal Strickland.
At the recent meeting, Shirley Williams read a comment given by Mayor Lew Starling at the May meeting, as quoted by The Independent.
“The time is up,” Starling said in May. “We are going to put this on the June calendar, but there has got to be a lot done, a lot done, a lot done. I don’t want anyone to lose their property, but realize that in June we probably will not have anymore patience.”
She asked Council to stand by that. White said the home, which he said was once used as a barn, has sentimental value, and he was willing to do what needed to be done to keep it.
“I’ve already spent $4,000 or $5,000. I’m going to get it back up to par,” he remarked. “I wouldn’t have invested that if it wasn’t my intention to fix it.”
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.