Ordinance supported for demolishing eyesores

Published 10:47 am Saturday, August 4, 2012

FRANKLIN—The city can’t demolish a vacant home on 104 McCutcheon St. up for tax sale without changing a law to allow the removal of eyesores that aren’t safety hazards.

Councilman Don Blythe has had complaints from two or three neighbors about the home because of holes in the roof, shrubbery growing into the windows, a broken backyard fence and long grass.

“I’m in favor of doing anything to take care of it,” Blythe said. “That’s disgusting looking out there.”

City Inspector Bob Atkinson said there are eight to 12 buildings in the city in the same condition, but they can’t demolish them because they’re not considered a safety hazard.

“If it gets to where a wall is falling in, we could send a correspondence giving the owner 60 days to repair it, or we can demolish it,” Atkinson said. “Right now it’s not that bad.”

Crews five times this year have cut the grass at the home, which cost the city $65 each time.

The city sent letters to owner Frank Puccini, who moved to Beaufort, S.C., but didn’t hear from him. Puccini, who owes $17,876 in property taxes and liens on the home, didn’t return a phone call.

The taxes haven’t been paid since the first half of 2005, said Deputy Treasurer Ed Martin.

Community Development Director Donald Goodwin supports an ordinance that would allow the city to take control and demolish these vacant buildings.

“I think it would give us another tool to address it,” Goodwin said. “It could definitely help.”

The city would recoup its demolition costs by selling the property.