By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
Cumberland County attorney Randal Boston was requested by the Health and Safety Standards Board to send a letter of violation and cleanup to Bank of America in regard to an abandoned, dilapidated property in the Breckenridge neighborhood.
The property at 145 Guiness Rd. has been reviewed and tabled by the board several times since December 2012, but officials have not yet been able to locate the current owner because it was in the foreclosure process.
"Mr. Boston's secretary was finally able to get a hold of someone and talk to a person," Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner and HSSB chairman, said.
"We actually got a live body, a person, not a recording, on the line. We now know where we can send a document and maybe get some action, but you as a POA (property owner's association) have just as much authority, if not more, than we do. That POA out there has been in place since 1981," Boston said.
A group of neighbors from the community attended the meeting and urged the board to take action.
One neighbor whose property adjoins 145 Guiness Rd. said this is the second time they have been forced to vacate their home in the past nine months because there are so many rats. The property owner said he was forced to have the rats exterminated, but it's been an ongoing battle with horrible odors.
The group said they attended the foreclosure sale that was supposed to have taken place in March, but nobody ever showed up to sell the property.
"It was advertised in the Chronicle to be sold in March on the front steps of the Courthouse," Nick Hedgecoth HSSB member said.
The community members said it has been this way for at least five times. The property is advertised to be sold, but nobody from the bank shows up to sell the property.
"I can take care of this in one minute if you tell me to," Boston said.
Commissioners Johnny Presley and Dave Hassler, both of the 3rd District, who are not members of the committee, attended the meeting and expressed concerns of the county taking action when there is a POA in place.
"I just don't want to set a precedent by doing this with other POAs," Hassler said.
After a brief discussion, members of the committee agreed by consensus that since it is such an extreme case and hardship on the neighbor living nearest the dilapidated, abandoned property that the county attorney should send a letter.
"I'm pretty confident that now we know who we are dealing with that they will take care of the matter," Boston said.
Hedgecoth made a motion for Boston to send the letter to Bank of America notifying them of the property at 145 Guiness Rd. being in violation and the extreme hazard it is creating in the community.
Brian Jones supported the motion and it was unanimously approved.
In other areas, the committee also discussed property at 547 Prentice St. was cleaned up, sold and the county was reimbursed for its cost.
The new property owner is constructing a new home on the property and it is nearly complete, Hyder reported.
The committee reviewed a complaint about a property on Fox Den Lane, but decided to have those who filed the complaint turn in better pictures for better proof of the validity of the complaint.
Committee member Randy Elmore was unable to attend the meeting.