Council targeting neglected property

What to do about Winnsboro’s large number of abandoned homes has been the topic of conversation at several recent Town Council meetings.

On Tuesday evening, Town Manager Don Wood said approximately 35 property owners with abandoned homes or dilapidated properties may be receiving letters soon and, eventually, citations if they do not take action to improve or remove the violations on their properties. However, the process of notifying the property owners could take a while, he said.

The town has sent letters to three property owners and, if the owners do not responded by Friday, citations will be levied, Wood said.

“We said the first owners we need to get in touch with is the people who live locally, and even though the letter has only been sent to three people so far, at least one of them, I know, has multiple properties,” Mayor Roger Gaddy said.

This pace was not fast enough for Councilman Danny Miller.

“It’s like the pace we’re on, I’ll have to live a hundred years to see it happen. What we gotta do is pick up the pace on these [abandoned] houses,” Miller said.

“I know you said you sent out a few letters, but can’t we send out letters to all of them? They’re killing the value of other peoples’ homes and it’s hazardous,” Miller said.

Councilman John McMeekin countered, saying that after meetings he had had with other town administrators who have implemented an approach similar approach similar to the one the town is using, that the current approach was the most effective.

“We’re doing exactly as they did, which is the most effective way. You can do a shotgun approach,” McMeekin said, “but you’re better off selecting some, and concentrating on those, then moving through your list and doing this over a multi-year period.”

Many of the property owners, Wood told Council at a previous meeting, are absentee owners and are going to be difficult and expensive to get in touch with.

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