Charleston City Council Set to Discuss Plan to Fix Abandoned and Neglected Buildings
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Members of the Charleston City Council will discuss the solutions available to them regarding the number of abandoned and neglected buildings within the city limits.
Councilman Jason Sakran said the city has done a good job with these types of buildings in the past, which he says attract vermin and could cause more damage in a hurricane, but they can do more.
“Often these buildings are in such disrepair that they are uninhabitable,” Sakran said. “The fire department came, the city came and put a big red X that basically tells you it’s uninhabitable.”
Some of the abandoned buildings across the peninsula could be seen tagged with graffiti and had boarded up windows and doors. Others could be seen with plants growing through the ground.
City records show that the number of abandoned buildings has fallen from around 500 in 2010 to around 200 currently.
“They will have rats; they will have raccoons,” Sakran said. “They have animals living there, so they’re also a public nuisance, a nuisance to public safety.”
Sakran added that sometimes the city struggles to contact landlords or building owners.
For a historic building to be demolished in Charleston, it must receive approval from the city’s Board of Architectural Review.
Neighbors said they wouldn’t mind the city renovating those buildings or appointing people to contact the building’s owners.
“I’m a big fan of houses as opposed to large condo units,” said neighbor Zee Hilal. “These are really nice and classy, but I just feel like the old houses downtown are just a better idea of Charleston’s history.”
“If they’re in absentia, God forbid, though, and then someone comes along and says, ‘This is my grandmother’s house! And it’s like, ‘Where the hell have you been?’ It is important to find the owners,” said neighbor Elissa Slattery.
Sakran hopes his fellow council members will agree with him on the city’s abandoned buildings.
“I’m encouraged and hope the mayor will inspire the staff to pursue this issue further,” Sakran said. “If we’re going to set up a working group to look at why we’re not fixing some of these issues, then let’s go ahead and do it.”
A discussion of the city’s abandoned buildings will take place at the next council meeting on Tuesday.
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