TURKEY — With goals to continue progress on fixing blight issues, town commissioners are now exploring options to condemn a few properties in the area.
The matter was brought up by Commissioner Max Pope during a Tuesday meeting. He referenced a home in Clinton that was recently declared unfit for use. Pope made a suggestion to take similar action in Turkey. The exact locations were not mentioned.
When asked, Code Enforcer Lyle Moore spoke about the procedure which includes a complaint being filed, search warrants, notifying the owner and investigating the property. If the property unsafe or unfit, the town gives the owner a certain amount of time to make changes.
“If they’re not in compliance or don’t ask for extension, the city can demolish it,” Moore said.
After it’s torn down, the owner would be responsible for the bill. Liens would be placed on the property and the town may foreclose.
If Turkey wanted to enforce the procedures, commissioners would have to amend the ordinance. Moore said he could submit language similar to Clinton’s to make changes at the next meeting or send information before the meeting.
“We can not continue to have rat infested places or places where children may show up or where people may get hurt,” Pope said.
Moore said he was not trying to sway the commissioners decision, but he said it could be an expensive process, depending on the demolition process.
“There’s a lot of variables such as the size of the house, asbestos, the age of the house and things like that could make the price very high,” Moore said.
Pope and Commissioner Rudy Blackburn made a suggestion to have a work session before a final decision is made.
“There’s no need to go into something, if we can’t do anything with it,” he said. “I’m tired of doing nothing.”
Discussions regarding the matter will continue at a later meeting.
“With all do respect to people who may have a different view on this regarding cost, procedure and all that, it’s safety issue for the community and we need to move forward with information,” Pope said.
Blight issues have been debated for several months. During the Tuesday meeting and previous gatherings, residents expressed their concerns about the appearance of the town, which receives a lot of traffic since the town is split by Highway 24. Some of the complaints involved a resident who was ordered to remove piles of dirt from her property. A conflict arose after the dirt was used for a flowerbed, which is allowed under the rules. But some residents thought it was another excuse to delay the request.
To help address the concerns of residents, town officials made attempts to contact railroad officials to remove sidetrack materials. Other plans include straighten out rocks and removing grass around the area
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.