Kannapolis city council votes to take action on housing code violations

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2015

By Susan Shinn

For The Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — With three minimum housing code violations on the agenda Monday night, Mayor Darrell Hinnant told Kannapolis City Council he wants to take a more proactive approach to the problem.

We have responded in the past to someone complaining about these houses,” Hinnant said. “It’s a complaint-driven system.”

Hinnant said that he and City Manager Mike Legg have been discussing a more comprehensive approach that would use a more “preliminary, street-side, windshield assessment” to ferret out homes in violation.

Such an approach would be more consistent and more egalitarian, the mayor said. He asked council to be thinking about this project. “What could we do, and how could we handle these properties?”

Council then voted unanimously to take action on three properties with code violations.

A house at 1699 Mission Oaks St. will be demolished at a cost of $5,500. Council discussed trying to have the lot re-graded, as flooding had made the home uninhabitable. But those costs would be prohibitive, according to Kassie Watts, assistant planning director.

A house at 1311 Sharon St. was also set to be demolished at a cost of $3,500. One of the heirs of the property, Sylvia Hudson, requested that council wait 30 days to demolish the house, so that she and her siblings could have the house taken down, thus not incurring a lien on the property.

My family and I realize the structure needs to come down,” said Hudson, who recently moved back to the area. “I’ve had to look at what this looks like, and it breaks my heart.”

She added, “Unfortunately, none of us are in a financial situation to have repairs done. We eventually hope to rebuild on the property at some point in time.”

On the third property, at 209 Rice St., council voted unanimously to remand the matter to the housing inspector for further action as necessary. Council has had several previous discussions on the property, but Anthony Brown, the owner’s son, said that the list of items from the inspector had been completed. Brown said the inspector could now re-inspect the property.

The hardest thing we have to do is tear people’s homes down,” noted Councilman Tom Kincaid. “This is very disturbing.”

Demolitions are completed through Community Development Block Grants.

In other action:

No one spoke at a public hearing to consider approving an ordinance to close an unopened portion of a right-of-way known as Future Streamside Drive. Council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance.

The council also voted unanimously to award the city’s 2015 resurfacing contract to Blythe Brothers Asphalt Co. at a cost of $439,604. The project includes resurfacing of 10 streets and the striping of Jackson Street.

Hinnant recognized Melvin and Lynda Rape as Volunteers of the Month.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.