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Old mill could become nuisance property

LaFAYETTE – A dilapidated mill in LaFayette could be labeled as a nuisance property by the LaFayette City Council.

LaFayette City Clerk Louis Davidson said the owner of the old Avondale Mill, located at 402 2nd St., N.W., was ticketed for overgrown weeds and grass on the property in September. City records identify the property owner as Bobby G. King.

In September, the council hosted a public hearing to discuss if any progress had been made on the property. LaFayette’s Code Enforcement Officer Rodney Arwood informed the council work was being done, but it was going to be a big job and more time would probably be needed.

Based on this information, the city chose to extend the timeline for cleanup of the property for 60 more days.

Before the Nov. 5 council meeting, the owner contacted Arwood through a letter, saying he was affected by Hurricane Michael in Florida and was still out of power. Because of this, he requested more time.

The council hosted another public hearing on the matter on Nov. 5, but a decision wasn’t made about an extension. However, the council did briefly discuss the notion of starting the timeline on a dilapidated property ordinance.

Davidson said the council needs to make a public decision if it wants to extend timeline on the grass citation or if it intends to declare the property a nuisance.

Davidson also said the dilapidated structure on the property starts another process — however, the council hasn’t ticketed the owner.

He said once the council wants to begin the process, it needs to notify the owner by certified mail.

Then, the owner has 60 days to clean it up, if not, the city can declare the property a nuisance.

Once the property is a nuisance, the city can either clean the property itself or pay to have it done, and a lien would be placed on the property. At that point, the owner of the property would be responsible for paying for the work.

Davidson said he has recently driven by the property and said it still looked like a “disaster.”

The LaFayette council was scheduled to meeting this past Monday but canceled due to the lack of a quorum. Davidson said the meeting hadn’t been rescheduled as of Thursday.