Spencer discusses rental property
By Emily Ford
SPENCER - A longtime resident said Spencer looks worse than it has in years.
Toots Sparger asked town aldermen to travel the back roads in Spencer, not just Salisbury Avenue, to understand the need for rental property regulations that have been proposed but not passed.
"There is something that needs to be done immediately about people that own property that rent it and could care less," Sparger said.
Absentee landlords don't have to endure unsightly rental property, she said.
"We have to put up with it day in and day out," she said.
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gobbel asked fellow board members last month to institute a program that could include rental registration, permits, inspections and fines.
The board agreed to Alderman Jeff Morris' suggestion that town staff study the issue and present options this month.
Price Wagoner, the town's new land management services director, said Tuesday he needs a few more months to gather data about habitual offenders and study other towns' ordinances.
The board agreed to receive a draft ordinance in January and vote on a final ordinance in February for implementation next spring.
Charles Reed of Rockwell, who owns property in Spencer, and another property owner from China Grove who didn't give his name said the town needs to do more to clean up rental properties and support merchants.
A habitual offender typically is defined as someone who has violated town code three times within six months, Price said.
So far, out of hundreds of violations in Spencer, Price said he has identified 14 habitual offender properties: three are owner-occupied, 10 are rentals and one is fire-damaged.
The bulk of the town's code violations involve overgrown grass.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.
In other business
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Spencer aldermen:
• Approved wrapping light poles with cornstalks tied with a bow along Salisbury Avenue from Stoudemire Furniture to Pinocchio’s, as long as the N.C. Department of Transportation agrees.
• Invited the community to the Small Town Main Street meeting at 5:45 p.m. today, which will include a walking tour.
• Heard the replacement fire truck should cost less than expected and not require financing.
• Thanked the Rowan Rotary Club for sponsoring a backpack food program at North Rowan Middle School for 22 students whose families do not have enough to eat on the weekends.
• Approved $11,314 from the streets general fund to recoat downtown crosswalks.
• Asked town staff to take bids for decorative banners and new brackets along Salisbury Avenue rather than accept Downtown Graphics Inc.’s quote of $2,573 without comparison.
• Will meet jointly with the Spencer Planning Board at 6 p.m. Nov. 13, an hour before the next town board meeting.
• Heard the Spencer Historic Preservation Commission approved an application for an outbuilding at 108 Fourth St.
• Amended the garbage ordinance to allow penalties against people who take rollout garbage carts when they move.