11/11/04 — City begins to enforce neglect ordinance

View Archive

City begins to enforce neglect ordinance

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on November 11, 2004 2:01 PM

Putting off roof repairs or ignoring the peeling paint on your house may earn you some unwanted attention from the city.

That's because Goldsboro's Inspection Department has begun its enforcement of the "demolition by neglect" ordinance passed by the council in September.

The ordinance is aimed at preventing the deterioration of buildings in downtown Goldsboro and requires property owners to take steps to protect buildings from decay.

If the property owner doesn't comply within an agreed upon time, a fine of $100 per day can be levied.

The ordinance addresses the problem in phases. The first phase concentrates on the central business district, and the second two phases will look at buildings in the eastern and western sections of downtown.

"This is the first phase," explained Ed Cianfarra, chief inspector for the city. "We have divided the area into six sections."

Cianfarra said that an inspector is assigned to each section, and that the inspector does one or two of the inspections each day.

"They're working them into their daily schedule," he said.

Planning Director Randy Guthrie said there were between 600 and 700 structures in the first phase that will need inspection. Cianfarra estimated that the inspections will be completed, and some action taken, on all problem structures within the next few months.

The inspectors are looking at the outside of the buildings for deteriorating walls, foundations, floors, roofs, beams and chimneys. They're also looking for deteriorating stairs, porches, handrails, fences, gates or garden walls.

In addition, the inspectors are looking for signs of ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs and foundations, leaking roofs, decayed brickwork and "failed paint."

Cianfarra acknowledges that the paint criteria is somewhat subjective. "At what point does the paint allow the building to deteriorate?" he asked.

He said that he was considering sending out two different kinds of letters. One, he said, would be to property owners that were in clear violation of the ordinance.

The other letter would be a warning letter, he said.

"We might let them know the structure is showing some signs of wear, and that it may need their attention," he said. "But the wear wasn't severe enough yet to be classified as a violation."

Cianfarra said the city first wanted to address the ones that were in direct violation of the ordinance.

The first round of letters will go out Friday to those property owners in violation.

"We're sending out the letter of hearing and the property owner will have the chance to meet with the inspector to discuss deficiencies," he said. "Then they'll come up with a time limit to fix it."