Pink Hill Vacant Building

The town of Rose Hill unanimously passed the Blighted Properties/Vacant Building Ordinance on Tuesday, Nov. 9 after a public hearing. The ordinance will become effective on Jan. 1, 2022.

ROSE HILL – Last week, a Blighted Properties/Vacant Building Ordinance proposal for the town of Rose Hill passed unanimously during the town board meeting. The ordinance will become effective on Jan. 1, 2022.

Rose Hill residents were invited to attend a town board public hearing held on Tuesday, Nov. 9, to offer comments about the proposed Blighted Properties/Vacant Building Ordinance and it’s penalty provisions.

“Only one person attended the public hearing, a citizen saying he was working to clean up his building,” said John Bauer, Rose Hill Town administrator.

Rose Hill has a large number of poorly maintained vacant buildings, which are a major cause and source of blight in residential and non-residential areas according to town officials.

The existence of vacant and blighted buildings not only “adversely affects the economic well-being of the town, and is inimical to the health, safety and welfare” of it’s residents but also constitutes a “nuisance dangerous or prejudicial to the public health or public safety.”

“The intention of the ordinance is to encourage property owners to fix up their properties,” said Bauer.

The decision to implement the ordinance is a measure that would aid town officials in making Rose Hill a better and safer place for all residents. Officials said many of the vacant and blighted buildings can be rehabilitated to provide safe facilities for the use they were originally intended for and collectively agree that the abatement of vacant and blighted buildings is a benefit to the health, safety and welfare of Rose Hill’s residents.

According to the ordinance, a blighted property is any vacant building, or any vacant portion of it, that is neglected or maintained poorly.

Some of the factors considered in determining whether a building is poorly maintained are missing or boarded windows or doors, collapsing or missing walls, roof or floors, siding that is seriously damaged or missing, faulty or damaged foundation or other structural components.

All building surfaces shall be maintained free of broken glass, crumbling stone or brick, peeling paint or other finish material utilized to prevent deterioration of materials susceptible to decay, graffiti or other condition reflective to overall deterioration or inadequate maintenance.

Additionally, the maintenance of property grounds and yards shall reflect a level of upkeep and be free of dead or severely overgrown trees and shrubs, dilapidated or abandoned materials or equipment, deteriorating sidewalks and parking areas among others.

It is important that all areas exposed to public view are kept free from deterioration and that the property grounds reflect a reasonable level of maintenance, keeping with the standards of the community.

“Failing to do so, there will be financial disincentives to motivate them forward,” said Bauer. “However, any penalties will only be made after due process is undertaken.”

A Rose Hill code enforcement official will perform periodic inspections for vacant buildings and may issue a complaint notice for a hearing in the Rose Hill Town Hall outlining the conditions which resulted in the action.

The failure of the property owner to accept or claim a complaint sent by certified mail does not prevent further action. In fact, the hearing provides the property owner with the ability to file an answer to the complaint, and to appear in person to give testimony.

For information about the penalty fee and more details about this ordinance, visit the towns website at https://www.townofrosehillnc.com.

Ena Sellers may be reached at esellers@ncweeklies.com