Local cities should keep removing nuisance properties

Published 5:43 pm Friday, August 31, 2018

couple of incidents in the past week underscore the problem that exists in the way of aging housing here in the Greater Valley Area.

Early in the week, a man complained that the City of Valley had torn down a house he owns without his knowledge and that he was contemplating legal action against the city. Julian Pitts told The Valley Times-News that he’d been away from his Valley home for an extended period while recovering from an illness. He said that he’d been staying with his daughter in Mississippi and had been planning on returning back home to Valley in the near future.

On Tuesday of this week, Valley’s Public Works Department took action to tear down the house and to clean up the property. Code Enforcement Officer Reid Riley had acted legally in doing this. There had been a 45-day period in which the owner had been notified that this would take place if no action was done to abate the problem.

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The problem with this house on Plantation Road was with the interior. The yard was well kept and the house looked okay on the outside, but inside someone had been using it to grow marijuana.

Homes that are unoccupied present all kinds of problems. They can quickly deteriorate and become unsightly. They can become breeding grounds of rats and snakes and provide havens for transients, who come there to do drugs and to sell them.

The second incident took place in Lanett Wednesday night. The high wind from a thunderstorm ripped the roof off an abandoned house on Gilmer Avenue. The dislodged roof, in turn, went sailing in the wind and brought down some electric lines, causing the mill village area to be in the dark for close to three hours.

Our local cities – Valley, Lanett, West Point and LaFayette – do good work in abating dilapidated properties. Unfortunately it’s a never-ending problem.

Literally hundreds of abandoned homes have been torn down and properties cleaned up over the past 20 years or so, and there’s more work to be done.

It’s not good to let them sit there. Some of these houses can be brought back up to standards and can serve as homes. That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t justify allowing a large number of empty houses to go an indefinite period without improvements.

We all want to live in communities that are attractive and appealing places to live. While the old, uninhabitable places are being removed, it would be good to see new home construction taking place here in the Valley. It’s happening all around us. It’s high time the wave reached us.