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Florence moves to clean up rundown houses

Staff writer

Florence’s standards board is mailing notices to 30 properties not in compliance with Florence city codes, according to standards board member Darla Spencer, but there are two properties that especially concern her.

The homes, one on 6th St. and the other on 7th St., are in poor condition and do not have running water or sewage, Spencer said during Monday’s city council meeting.

“We felt like there had to be an ordinance that it’s in violation of,” she said. “I don’t know how someone can live in town at a property that doesn’t have city sewer or water.”

People living in both homes can get away without water by using city park facilities, but that does not help with sewage issues, Spencer said.

“The one property has some feces in their back yard that I’ve seen,” she said. “I’d like to see that addressed as soon as possible because those should be allowed to be lived in.”

Any residence with access to city sewage is required to include bathrooms, according to city ordinances. Ordinances also prohibit disposing of waste in any unsanitary manner, whether it is human, animal, or garbage waste.

The standards board is sending letters to both properties to address the issues, as well as yard maintenance. Residents have 30 days after receiving notice to comply, though, and Spencer hopes the city can get the sewage concerns taken care of sooner.

Not all owners of rundown properties have proven so difficult to cooperate with. One homeowner on Grandview St. wants to deed her property to the city so Florence can do as it sees fit.

The situation also is different from the others because there aren’t issues with taxes or bills.

“As long as I’ve worked for the city, she has paid a utility bill,” city clerk Dana Gayle said. “There are no utilities – trash, water, sewer, nothing – and she pays that consistently. She never fails, which is wonderful.”

The city likely would have to foot any bill for tearing the house down. An alternative if the city receives ownership might be to ask for volunteers with the teardown, councilman Mary Shipman said.

Shipman and councilman Jeannie Meirowsky were in agreement that it was better not to divert city labor for the task.

“I’m not going to count on city employees to do it,” Meirowky said. “They have enough to do.”

Last modified Sept. 24, 2020

 

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