By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
The Cumberland County Health and Safety Standards Board unanimously agreed to uphold its action in August against a property owner of the residence at 547 Prentice St. and send a final letter requesting a cleanup of the property.
HSSB Chairperson Nancy Hyder said, "Well, we've kind of gotten into a little dilemma here on that property over on Prentice St."
Hyder, who also serves as 2nd District Cumberland County commissioner, continued to explain that a family member had erected a tent on the property and was staying in the tent while working on the home.
"It's taken down to the foundation now and I kind of wondered if it wasn't a house now and just a foundation," Hyder said.
Cumberland County attorney Randal Boston, who advises the HSSB, said that would probably not apply since it was a home when the board took action ordering the remnants of the home cleaned up and removed from the property.
"It's nasty over there, but really, it's up to you to determine if it's a home or not," Boston said.
"Well, it's like you said, it was when we took the initial action on it," Hyder said.
"I mean, is it a danger to the community?" HSSB board member Brian Jones asked. "I think so. Something has to be done about it. It can't just be left there like that," Jones continued.
Board members have said the home now is torn down to the foundation, but still has a sub-floor and crawl space containing garbage and debris and "varmints."
"The tent is gone now and nobody is staying there," Hyder said.
"I think it's completely dangerous and I know I wouldn't want that next door to me, or in my neighborhood. I don't want any children going in or playing around there. I say we send her one more letter ordering her to have it completely cleaned up in 10 days or we will come in and have it cleaned up," said HSSB member Nick Hedgecoth.
Randy Elmore supported the motion and it was unanimously passed.
The board agreed to have the letter served to the property owner rather than mailed and allow them until Oct. 24.
"We want to have it leveled, cleaned up and all debris removed," Hyder said.
The board agreed they would have Nathan Brock, county finance director, contact a clean up crew and have them prepared to clean the property on Oct. 25 if it is not done by Oct. 24. There will be a tax lien placed on the property for the amount of the cleanup.
The county has sent the property owner three letters of violation and no progress has been made toward cleaning up the property.
"We started talking and working on this case back in January or February," Hyder said.
According to the original complaint that was filed about the residence at 547 Prentice St., the home has been abandoned for a long time and was burned and the roof of the structure is completely gone. The complaint states that the vacant home is attracting stray animals and snakes in the summer and other animals in the winter months, as well as producing foul odors.
Cumberland County Attorney Randal Boston said, "You have been more than fair."
In other action, the HSSB unanimously approved to send a letter of violation to Wells Fargo Bank in Florida that owns a home that was foreclosed at 26 Sunshine Rd.
The first letter informs them a complaint has been filed with the HSSB and gives them 30 days to respond to the letter with a plan of action.
In order to come under the jurisdiction of the HSSB board, a home must be dilapidated, abandoned and a complaint must be filed and signed by three separate property owners who are within 150 yards of the home.
Current board members are Hyder, Jones, Hedgecoth, Randy Elmore and Darrell Comer.