Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

The Franklin Town Council has decided to demolish three properties within the city limits that are in violation of the town’s housing code. By statute, the town is responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the town and its citizens and the town’s minimum housing code permits the investigation of dwellings that do not meet that standard.

If the town receives a complaint from five or more citizens, the town can hold a hearing and allow the owners of the dwellings the opportunity to update the property and meet the town’s code or to demolish the property. Public hearings were scheduled for all three properties on Monday night, with no one signing up to argue the town’s motion to demolish the structures. Under the town’s ordinance, the town will now secure an enforceable order of the Superior Court to effect the demolition of the structures. After the structures are demolished, the town will then attempt to collect the cost of the demolition from the property owners.

The first structure, located at 14 Brittney Lane, has had extensive fire damage throughout the entire structure. The structure has no doors or windows and has holes in the roof from the fire department operations. The structure doesn’t have a floor which exposes the basement to the main level. The area around the structure is littered with trash and beer bottles.

The structure is a danger to public health and property values. The Macon County Tax office has the building listed as having $0.00 value. Town Planner Justin Setser has only ever been able to contact three of the heirs of the property and recommended to the town that a court order be implemented as the only option to get the attention of the heirs and that the structure needs to be removed.  The owner of the property is listed as William Sanders. While the building on the property has a $0.00 value, the property is listed as being valued at $26,720.

The second structure, located at 76 Hillcrest Avenue, has not been lived in for more than four years. The structure doesn’t have any power or running water. An uninspected septic system without a drainage system was installed on the property. The structure has extensive fire damage to the roof and roof joists which the property owner has tried to cover up with paneling. There are no windows in the house, just plastic over the windows.

There are holes in the floor of the main level of the structure, and a large amount of trash and debris around the home that makes the area a breeding ground for rodents, insects, and infestation. The property has four, 55 gallon barrels that are used for the open storage of kerosene heating oil. The chimney has fallen off of the structure. The property owner has built a new structure onto the front of the structure without permits and not to N.C. building codes. Exposed wiring can be seen from the panel box in the new portion of the structure. Macon County tax office has the building value of the property listed as $0.00. Macon County Building Inspections has stated that the power will not be restored to the structure until the structure is brought up to the NC Building Code standards. The owner of the property is listed as Joyce Ann Meeks, Life Estates. The value of the property is listed as $46,710.

The final structure is located at 456 Pauline Avenue and has been vacant for more than 25 years. The home was covered with brush and vegetation at the time of the first violation notice. The structure also had major roof damage to the back deck area. The roof has fallen in on the deck. Once the owner started to fix the violation, the contractor found that the roof has been leaking for years and the main floor of the structure had collapsed in different spots throughout the structure. The property owner decided to remove the structure on his own, but once permits were pulled for demolition, asbestos was found in the structure.

The cost for asbestos removal was too much for the property owner and he refused to have it done. A new hearing was held on the property and the $8,500 needed for the asbestos removal was factored into the cost. The total assessed value of the property and structure is $53,310 per the Macon County Tax office.