City eyes unkempt property

Posted 2/14/18

Cluttered, overgrown and unkempt property was a major topic of discussion at Tuesday evening's meeting of the Charleston City Commission.Mayor Walter Goode was unable to attend the commission session …

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City eyes unkempt property


Cluttered, overgrown and unkempt property was a major topic of discussion at Tuesday evening's meeting of the Charleston City Commission.

Mayor Walter Goode was unable to attend the commission session at the city hall, but commissioners Donna McDermott and Frankie McCartney had a lively discussion with City Manager Caroline Geren and City Recorder Janet Newport.

The two city officials emphasized that commissioners need to determined specific properties which are in violation of the city's ordinance, and prescribed action to be taken. 

Warning letters have been mailed to several property owners, with some success. But, other property owners have virtually ignored the correspondence, and several parcels remain in disrepair.

Newport said the Municipal Technical Advisory Service has informed the city its ordinance is sufficient for whatever steps need to be taken.

McCartney targeted one location along Highway 11 at Scott Street, where Charleston officials have received no response from the owner in multiple efforts of more than a year. At least three warning letters were mailed, but there has been no response or action.

"It's tacky, and unacceptable," said McDermott in commenting on the properties in question. She pointed out that city officials are attempting to improve the appearance and aesthetics of the community, and these eyesores are a detriment.

McDermott mentioned the new, historic walking and jogging trail which is being laid down through the downtown area, and its visual upgrade to community

McCartney suggested the city take steps to clean up the questionable properties, then add the cost to the offending property owners' taxes. 

Geren and Newport pointed out that some of these people are absentee owners, living out of state, and  have not been paying their taxes.

Newport urged commissioners to come up with guidelines for city officials to take against the offenders. She and Geren also pointed out that to cite a property owner in court for suspected violations, the citation had to be physically delivered to the property owners — wherever they might be.

No action was taken by the two commissioners, but additional discussion is anticipated.

McCartney and McDermott also discussed another piece of city property with Geren and Newport, but not the appearance of the parcel.

McCartney said he had spoken with Dr. Keith Kidd, who apparently has purchased property across Highway 11 from his family practice clinic.

The Charleston physician told the city commissioner his research had discovered a small parcel adjacent to his property, which is owned by the city. He is concerned by the possibility of unwanted traffic at this location.

Newport said the property is not listed as a city street. She and Geren urged McCartney to follow up on  his discussion with Dr. Kidd, asking him to share his research.

If the property is indeed owned by the city, Kidd could ask the city for abandonment.

In other issues:

• McDermott said there appear to be beavers living in a creek near the Hiwassee River near Waters Street, and she is concerned with their dam construction at the site and near the boat dock.

It was pointed out that if the concerns are along the Hiwassee, it would be a state concern.  Street and maintenance supervisor Melvin Graham is to look into the issue. 

• In Graham's monthly report, he announced he is working on a schedule for use of the batting cage at the ballfields, and is having some difficulties in cleanup and mowing efforts at the boat dock.

• McDermott announced that the Charleston Recreation Board has planned to meet next Tuesday at  6 p.m. at City Hall.

That meeting will probably have to be rescheduled to another time and/or day, since City Court is scheduled at the same time.


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