03/04/08 — Mount OIive Town Board sets sights on 4 dilapidated houses

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Mount OIive Town Board sets sights on 4 dilapidated houses

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 4, 2008 1:45 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Town Board members voted Monday to condemn and demolish several neighborhood "eyesores," part of a continued effort, they say, to clean up the town.

Code enforcement official Danny Keel recommended the action for four homes he characterized as "dilapidated" and vowed to come back every other meeting with a longer list.

The first home, owned by the heirs of Chris Artis, is located at 103 Cobb Street. Rotten wood, deteriorating siding and broken windows were among the code violations cited by inspectors there.

"This house is in very bad shape," Keel told the board. "I think anyone who lives in that community would agree with that. It needs to come down."

Commissioner Gene Lee agreed.

"I don't believe there is a way to fix that house," he said.

A few moments later, the structure was condemned and slated for demolition.

So was the "house" located at 110 E. Slocumb St.

Keel said no work has been done on the structure since the fire that all but destroyed it.

"This house burned. It's been burned down for close to a year now," he said. "It needs to come down."

Two other houses on the list were spared -- for the time being.

Candra Capers pleaded with the board to give her more time to fix up her aunt's home, located at 137 Hillsboro St.

"I admit, the house needs some work," she said. "It's just a little hard for me to get to town to do the work."

The board granted her 90 days to bring the dwelling up to code.

"Thank you all very much," she said. "These problems will be corrected."

The board also granted more time to Anthony Lathan, who showed up at the meeting on behalf of property owned by his mother, Carrie Lee Lathan.

The home, located at 1012 Johnson St., just needs "a few more days," he said.

Mayor Ray McDonald said it would take a "miracle" to rehabilitate the house in the 15 days Lathan requested, but agreed with his peers on the board to give the man 30 days to bring the home up to code.

But he had a stern message for Lathan and others who attended the meeting.

"We're not interested in someone fixing up the outside of a house so that we leave it alone and then letting it turn into a drug house," the mayor said. "So, in 30 days, it's going to come back to the board and if it's not fixed you're going to lose everything that's in it. Do you understand that?"

"Yes sir," Lathan replied.

Keel told the board he is not so sure rehabilitation is possible for some of the properties he has seen around town, but vowed to continue to cite violations and bring homes before the board -- hoping Mount Olive will look better because of it.

"I plan to bring about five to you every other month," he said. "We're trying to get a list together."