County to address substandard housing – 15 properties

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Anderson County Council announced that Phase I of the 2013-14 Demolition Plan for Substandard Housing Properties will begin this week. During the next four weeks, a total of 15 properties will be razed.

Targeted properties include: 7 P Street, 107 R Street, 33 Lyons Street, 1401 P & N Drive, 1403 P & N Drive, 1101 Brown Road, 106 Dogwood Lane, 312 Vandiver Street, 210 Jones Street, 10 Donald Street, 409 W Queens Street, 826 Dora Drive, 828 Dora Drive, 830 Dora Drive and 832 Dora Drive. The first property scheduled for demolition is located at 107 R Street, followed by 7 P Street and properties on Dora Drive respectively.

 A substandard structure is defined as one that is dilapidated, dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy.  Eliminating substandard housing increases neighborhood safety and long-term stability, improved property standards, and encourages revitalization and economic development.

 “Council’s goal is to support Building & Codes efforts and thereby, foster home ownership, improve housing opportunities for residents and promote an environment that encourages redevelopment of these areas,” said County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. “Leveling these abandoned/substandard structures that are often hot spots for criminal activity, such as theft, drug use, prostitution or arson, gives rise to positive change and results in the revitalization of neighborhoods. These properties are an eyesore, and cause depreciation to neighboring properties.”

 “Anderson County Council continues to recognize the need to remove these blighted structures in order to improve the overall quality of life within Anderson County,” said Building & Codes Manager Barry Holcombe.  ”With this in mind, Council appropriated $150,000 in the 2013-14 budget for Substandard Housing Mitigation. Moats Construction, the lowest bidder ($39,100) was awarded the contract.”

 Anderson County has a Substandard Housing Program to address dilapidated, vacated homes. Due to the legal steps that are required, it may take six months to a year to have a property approved for demolition. Mobile homes can be even more difficult since the mobile home owner is not always the land owner. In these cases, there is a law in place that specifically deals with derelict mobile homes and the Building and Codes Department is prepared to guide the land owner through this process. Prior to the 2013-14 budget, Building & Codes had approximately 173 plus cases pending.

 Holcombe continued, “It is ultimately the property owner’s responsibility and if an owner fails to comply with an order to demolish a vacant substandard property, all costs associated with the demolition will be placed on the property as a lien and will be collectable in the same manner as county taxes.”

The locations of the houses scheduled for demolition are scattered across the County, as opposed to previous years when they tended to be concentrated in the municipal Anderson area.