Board adopts new vacant building enforcement code for downtown Erwin

Sue Guinn Legg • Jul 22, 2019 at 11:09 PM

ERWIN — There is a new vacant building enforcement program on the books for downtown Erwin.

With Alderman Rachelle Shurtz absent, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 5-0 Monday to put stiffer enforcement regulations in place for owners of abandoned buildings in the downtown overlay district.

The new rules include an $800 annual fine for noncompliance up to a cap of $6,400.

Mayor Doris Hensley said the regulations are an attempt to spur improvements of three to four downtown buildings that have been abandoned and left to deteriorate. She noted there is a difference in those building and several other buildings in the downtown area that are empty and being marketed for sale or lease.

Hensley said the new ordinance allows building owners six months to comply with cited violations and noted there are grants available for those who want to bring their buildings into compliance.

The vote to adopt the new enforcement code followed a public hearing in which no one spoke for or against the regulations.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board voted to abandon an alleyway on North Willow Avenue located between two residential properties owned by Alderman Michael Baker and to sell the abandoned property to Baker for $2,361.

With Baker abstaining, the board approved the abandonment and property sale by a vote of 4-0.

Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff told the board the town has already abandoned all adjacent alleyways surrounding the property. And Hensley noted, as with all alleyways abandoned by the town, the utility right of way on the property will be retained by the town.

Rosenoff announced at the start of the meeting a new temporary traffic signal has gone up at the Second Street entrance to the new Food City shopping center at the Highway 107 overpass.

Rosenoff said the signal will continue flashing yellow as required by law through Wednesday, when it is set to go green and red also. Signalization of the intersection will come just one week ahead of the anticipated opening of the new store on July 31.

Installation of a permanent traffic signal at the intersection has been delayed by a steel shortage and will be competed at a later date.