Property owners could face lawsuit

2 properties nearing deadline with town

By Eva Winemiller

PILOT MOUNTAIN — Lawsuits against property owners were among discussion at Monday night’s Board of Commissioner’s meeting.

In recent months the Board of Commissioners has deemed several properties to be in violation of the town’s minimum housing code ordinance.

Several of those properties are now in danger of the town condemning the property if no action is taken by the owners to rectify the alleged violations.

Commissioner Gary Bell questioned what happens once the date arrives and the property owners have not worked to bring the property up to code.

Town Manager Michael Boaz explained that once the town condemns the property a lien can be placed on the property to either recover the cost of demolishing the property, recover the cost of repairs or litigation could be brought against the property owner or owners.

Once the commissioners decide a property is in violation of the town’s minimum housing code ordinance, the board sets a reasonable amount of time for property owner’s to make an attempt to either show intent, progress, or completely bring the property to code.

Two properties in particular were brought up by Boaz, in which he claims the comply by date is nearing. Those are the Lola Lane property and the Howard Street property.

In February, the property at 121 Howard was opted to be demolished by the town.

Officials had been trying for months to notify the owners that the property violated the town’s housing code, but received no response. The last address of the property owners that the town had on record was in Greensboro.

At the time, it was determined that to repair the house according to building code and permitting per North Carolina Building Code standards, it was expected to exceed 50 percent of the current value of the property, according to the meeting’s agenda packet.

The structure value is listed at $22,350, according to Surry County North Carolina tax records.

After the news carried to property owners of the planned demolition, the town granted an extension with the promise of repairs to be made by May 21 or the owners would demolish the property, saving the town $9,800, according to Boaz.

However, other than yard work, minor trash cleaning, and mowing, no progress has been made, according to Boaz.

The property at Lola Lane was declared a nuisance during the March Board of Commissioner’s meeting after a unanimous vote.

After heavy rainfall in early August, two ponds located off Lola Lane flooded and washed out, creating public concern.

Once the larger of the two ponds broke containment and poured out much of its water, a submerged car was revealed at the bottom. It was unclear at the time how long the car has been in the pond and who owned the car.

Since then the town altered its nuisance ordinance earlier during a board of commissioners meeting, and several formal complaints were filed against the property.

The board deemed the owners of the property had 60 days to begin any progress to resolve the issues with the pond, with a compliance date set for May 26.

However, according to Boaz, he has not heard from the property owners nor has any progress been made.

“You could sue,” stated Boaz as he discussed the matter with the board.

The town would seek injunctive relief from a superior court judge.

The judge, if the town’s suit was successful, would order that the necessary repairs be made or the structure be demolished and non-compliance with that order would be contempt of court, explained Boaz.

Commissioner Kim Quinn questioned if they could expect a list of these properties and be expected to take action next meeting.

The board may take action during June’s meeting to resolve these housing code violations, according to Boaz.

2 properties nearing deadline with town

By Eva Winemiller

Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @ThePilotNC

Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @ThePilotNC

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