City approves nuisance chapter amendment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council approved an ordinance to amend the nuisances chapter of the city code with an adjustment of wording from Councilman David Post.

The council met at 217 S. Main St. on Tuesday evening.

Councilman Brian Miller was absent from the meeting.

Preston Mitchell, Planning and Development Services manager, came before the board with a proposed change to the nuisances chapter of the city code that dealt with properties that either had no owner or the owner of the property was unknown due to the property being in the middle of foreclosure proceedings, estate probate or other situations.

The change allows the Code Enforcement Division to immediately fix nuisances of properties under unknown control if they are dangerous to the public health or safety.

Mitchell said the fact that the nuisances had to be considered dangerous to the public health or safety was important to note.

“The example I’m talking about would be … if there was an appliance in the backyard that is clearly a violation of the nuisance ordinance, that’s not necessarily a danger to public health,” he said.

He said the change would apply to things like overgrown grass that could attract animals.

Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell wanted to table the vote until the council could receive more information on how much the abatements would cost the city.

Though Mitchell said liens would continue to be placed on the property that would be paid by the next property owner, Blackwell said the city would absorb those costs in the meantime.

“In my mind, for all intents and purposes, the city is absorbing the cost, for now, until something magic happens and someone acquires that property and pays the lien,” she said.

Blackwell made a motion to table the vote, but the motion was not approved.

Post suggested a change to the wording of the ordinance to allow the city to add examples of properties with unknown control.

Post later made a motion to approve the ordinance with the change in wording and the council approved it.

City manager Lane Baliey said he would get information on the number of properties that are under no or unknown control that would need abatement and ways to “be more aggressive” in collecting lien payments.

In other business, the council:

  • Recognized Sergeant Corey Brooks, Corporal Matt Benjamin, Officer Mike Dishman, Officer Anthony Mason, Officer Mark McDaniel and Officer Rita Rule with Lifesaving Awards, presented by Chief Jerry Stokes.
  • Approved the consent agenda, which included:
    • The adoption of a budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget in the amount of $906,413 to the general fund and $32,099,327 to the Fibrant Communications Fund to appropriate funds from the refinancing of the Certificates of Participation debt.
    • The appointment of Krista Osterweil as chairman and Mark Lewis as vice-chairman of the Salisbury Tourism and Cultural Development Commission.
  • Heard a presentation about the Salisbury Police Departments’ GREAT camps for incoming Knox Middle School students.
  • Heard a report and held a public meeting about the Consolidated Annual Planning and Evaluation Report for Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program funds.
  • Approved a land development district map amendment to correctively rezone properties at West Kerr and Best streets.
  • Heard a presentation from RowanWorks about economic development strategies. The council tabled Downtown Salisbury, Inc.’s presentation for the next meeting.
  • Heard public comment. Greg Alcorn ask that the city establish a strong sales and marketing plan for Fibrant. He also suggested that the city contact citizens to gain customers.
    Jerry Shelby said the grass at the Morlan Park Road and Jake Alexander Boulevard intersection was obstructing the view for drivers and asked if there were any laws against them burning the grass. He also said the Interstate 85 detour signs were also obstructing the view.
    Pastor Andrew Davis asked if the city or county could provide a safe haven for children who want to escape gang life.
    Sue McHugh and other citizens asked the city to move forward with the chronic nuisance abatement program to help stop crime and violence in the city.
    Rodney Queen said neglected, boarded-up houses are harboring crime in the city, and Carolyn Logan asked the city to find another way to reach children to help end the city’s crime issues.
  • Approved the purchase of two fire trucks for the Salisbury Fire Department. The city sold one of their fire trucks to the town of Spencer at a lower cost than they would have received if they traded the truck in, so the amount needed to purchase the two new fire trucks increased by about $5,880. Bailey, the city manager, said they will be able to find the funds to cover the difference in the next fiscal year’s budget.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.