Tryon discusses dilapidated homes

Published 5:22 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018

TRYON – Tryon Town Council was asked again this month when dilapidated homes would be taken care of in the Eastside community.

Tryon Town Council met Jan. 16 and heard from Eastside Citizen Advisory Committee’s Dr. Warren Carson during citizen comments.

Carson brought a photograph of a home without kudzu covering it, saying it looks worse without the kudzu. He asked if the town had funds budgeted this year for code enforcement.

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Town manager Zach Ollis said the town does have funding in the budget for dilapidated homes, specifically for the Eastside.

Carson asked when, as the town is midway through the budget year.

Carson spoke of people moving into the area and said, “I would hope that whoever decides to escape to Tryon does not find the occasion to go in that particular location, because it would change their minds immediately.”

Carson said he’d love to come to a town meeting and hear commissioners have a robust discussion, like they have on downtown issues, about dilapidated homes in neighborhoods.

“The neighborhoods are where the real people live,” Carson said. “There are real issues. It adversely affects their quality of life.”

Commissioner Bill Crowell asked if the town gets the property condemned and the structure torn down, does the town own the land.

Tryon Community Development Director Paula Kempton said the town would not own the land, it’s the building the town would be removing. Kempton also said the county gets the first bid of the money collected on any lien and the town gets the rest.

Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples said some of the homes are in a flood plain and the property can no longer be built on, and other lots are too small to build on any more with new regulations.

Carson said the reason for tearing down homes does not always have to be financial.

“There are many returns on removing some of these eyesores,” he said.

Crowell asked once they are torn down, who maintains the property.

Kempton said the town would try to get the property owner to maintain it. The problem comes when the property owner doesn’t maintain it.

Kempton also discussed the difficulty in getting properties condemned, for the town to demolish structures, and for small town staff to clean properties up all the time.

“The intent is not for us to do it, the intent is to get the property owners to do it,” Kempton said. 

The town has been discussing dilapidated properties in town for several months. Council recently decided to hold work sessions an hour before regular monthly meetings in order to discuss issues, with one of the first things on the list to put more teeth in town ordinances regarding minimum housing standards.