York puts foot down on disrepair
YORK -- Councilman Mark Boley is sick of looking at three derelict and dilapidated houses at the entrance to downtown on South Congress Street. So is the rest of the City Council.
Council has given owner, Marvin Johnson, until June 17 to complete all renovations and repairs necessary at all three houses, or the city will send him a summons to appear before a judge.
"I think that's pretty gracious," Boley said during the council's June 2 meeting when the deadline was set.
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It comes on the heels of several other missed deadlines, the most recent of which passed May 18. That deadline to complete the work, which includes painting all exposed wood on the homes, replacing or repairing all broken windows, removing broken down vehicles and vehicles without license tags from the properties, repairing or removing rear accessory structures, clearing debris and trash, cutting overgrowth and repairing the front porches and their roofs, according to letters sent from York to Johnson.
The Enquirer-Herald was unable to reach Johnson.
According to city records Johnson has made progress on some of the items identified, but none have been totally completed, Planning Director David Breakfield told the council.
Johnson's properties have been a recurring topic at council meeting since at least February. According to Breakfield and Interim City Manager Charles Helms, officials first met with Johnson to discuss the problems on March 13. Shortly after that meeting Johnson replaced most of the roof on one of the houses. Then on March 30 the city sent him a letter detailing what was discussed.
By April 30 town officials asked Johnson for a plan of action to finish the rest of the work, and the city sent another letter, asking for the plan in writing the next day. According to city records Johnson submitted a plan, but it did not address all of the items detailed by York officials. A follow-up letter sent May 8 gave Johnson 10 days to comply and cited the city ordinance dealing with nuisance properties.
"We've met with him three times, and the timeliness have been discussed," Breakfield said. "He is fully aware of what his responsibilities are."
Of late more work appears to have begun on the houses. Johnson has until next Wednesday to finish.
"I think this is a real test to see if the city can get this done," Boley said. "If these three properties go into the Historical District, (the more stringent requirements are) going to hurt him bad.
"He's had years to clean them up, and I'm tired of looking at them."
"It is an eyesore coming into town, and I would like to seek that corridor cleaned up," Councilman Tony Moore said. "That said, we've got a number of spots in town in the same situation, and I want to make sure whatever we have Mr. Johnson do we are making it happen in other areas."