Miller wants action on rundown homes

Published 9:30 am Thursday, August 25, 2011

A dilapidated house on Cleveland Street in Tryon’s Eastside community. (photo by Leah Justice)

Town plans to adopt demolition ordinances soon
Tryon Councilman Roy Miller is questioning how the town’s Eastside neighborhood can be revitalized when there are dilapidated structures throughout the area, some of which are no longer visible from being engulfed in kudzu.
Miller questioned other town council members at a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 16. He asked why it is taking so long to get dilapidated homes demolished, saying the town is wasting time and money. Many of the structures have been dealt with through a few town employees over several years, Miller said.
“We have homes at this point that are fully engulfed in kudzu;” Miller said. “That are not visible. They are falling more and more in a state of dilapidation and now we’re starting over again.”
Tryon Town Manager Justin Hembree said he, town fire chief and code enforcer Joey Davis, former councilman Warren Carson and Miller recently rode around town and looked at the sites on the list that currently do not meet minimum housing code.

A dilapidated house on E. Howard Street in Tryon’s Eastside community. (photo by Leah Justice)

The town has budgeted $10,000 this year to demolish dilapidated structures. Hembree said town attorney Bailey Nager has researched where the town is in terms of title services and notices sent out to property owners. Some of the time constraints are because properties are tied up in estates or are owned by multiple heirs, many of who do not live locally.
In the last couple of years, the town has demolished three dilapidated structures in the Eastside neighborhood and one mobile home on Rippy Road in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).
Miller took the Bulletin on a tour of dilapidated structures in the Eastside community on Monday, Aug. 22, showing 13 structures on various streets that need to be demolished. Miller said not only are the structures eyesores, but they are not sanitary to be near as they are havens for snakes, roaches and rodents.
Several of the structures are no longer visible because of kudzu and other overgrowth. Many structures have broken or boarded-up windows and doors and several have roofs that are falling in.
There is another structure on the list on Depot Street, according to Miller.
“I don’t think the council has really seen the houses we are talking about now,” Miller said. “They are an eyesore right in the middle of a community. How can we have a revitalization when you have houses that decrease the value of other properties? We need to move on it.”
Hembree said he recommends that either in September or October the town adopt as many ordinances to demolish as employees can get ready. The town can talk to a contractor to see what kind of discount they can offer to do multiple demolitions at one time.
“Our game plan is between this meeting and the next meeting to be prepared to have as many (ordinances) as possible to adopt,” said Hembree.
Nager said he would have to check on state statutes, but said he thinks once an ordinance is approved, the town should be able to demolish structures whenever the funds become available.
This is not the first time the issue of dilapidated structures has come before town council. Former councilman Warren Carson routinely brought pictures to town council urging the town to clean up the Eastside neighborhood.
A few years ago the town decided to budget $30,000 specifically for demolitions. The Tryon Fire Department has in the past demolished structures by fire as training at no cost, but many properties are not safe to demolish in that manner.
The town is also currently considering and researching other ordinances that would allow the town to make the property owner pay the costs of having the town do maintenance such as mowing grass and clearing growth on private properties that are violating the town’s nuisance ordinance.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox