City moves ahead with eviction at boarding house

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 9, 2014

SALISBURY — The city has started closing a controversial boarding house on North Long Street, including issuing 30-day eviction notices to boarders.

“We have been ultra lenient on this, ultra, ultra lenient,” City Manager Doug Paris told City Council. “But at some point we have to enforce our housing code.”

City Council voted unanimously Dec. 17 to begin the eviction process at 507 N. Long St. if the owner did not bring the house up to minimum living standards. Paris told council members on Tuesday the house remains substandard and the city began the process to close the house.

Tenants will have 30 days to move out, and the city has suggested alternative housing options, Paris said.

“We will make sure no one is out in this cold weather,” he said.

Property owner Nathan King Sr. attended the City Council meeting but did not speak and had no comment for the Post.

King’s son, Michael King, after the meeting pleaded his father’s case with Paris and Mayor Paul Woodson for several minutes. Paris told King to contact the city attorney. A Salisbury police officer stood nearby during the discussion.

The city first contacted King a year ago about code violations including blocked exits, no smoke detectors, a bedroom without windows, electrical problems, raw sewage coming from the house and more. King told the Post in November that he had repaired the problems and the house met code. The city disagreed.

Closing the house and evicting the boarders is a first step toward possibly demolishing the structure, which is more than 100 years old.

The city’s Historic Preservation Commission voted recently to delay demolition for 90 days.