Neighbor: Foreclosed home is blight on area

Jan. 11, 2013 @ 07:32 PM

Neighbors of the abandoned house at 8008 Beacon Hills Road wonder if anyone is home on the topic of blighted properties.

David Wilson has lived next door to the abandoned house long before it was empty. For 17 years, Wilson and others complained to Indian Trail government about code violations. The owner rarely cut his grass and kept trash in his yard, Wilson said.

But last year, the homeowner died and Wells Fargo bank foreclosed on the home.Wilson said someone who went into the house described seeing human and animal feces all inside. Windows broke and weeds grew up in the yard. Tires in front of and behind the house held water that mosquitoes used for breeding. Wilson’s home was invaded by roaches he believes nest next door. Neighbors even suspected squatters were using the house for drug activity.

Appeals to Indian Trail fell on deaf ears, Wilson said.

“I’ve called them I don’t know how many times,” he said. “They’d go out there and do a little bit of work on it, just enough to keep me from complaining for a while.”

In August, a code inspector boarded up the windows and doors, hanging a sign stating the home was unfit for habitation. City workers cleaned up trash in the yards. But the house remains a problem.

“Every time I bring it up with the town manager, he says it’s tied up with Union County,” Wilson said. “He’s been saying that for the last three months.”

Wilson spoke about the abandoned house at the Indian Trail Town Council meeting Tuesday. Councilman David Cohn said the council has discussed the house before. Town Manager Joe Fivas said he and his staff agree with Wilson’s statements that the house’s condition affects property values and quality of life in the neighborhood. Town representatives have contacted Wells Fargo requesting the bank give the property to Indian Trail. But the town lacks the authority to do anything else.

“The county has been reluctant to come in and deem it as a health hazard,” Fivas said during the meeting. “We keep working with their building inspections department and trying to get them to take this situation seriously.”

Thursday, Fivas explained that Indian Trail needs a licensed building inspector to state the town should condemn the house and demolish it. The town has no inspections department, so Fivas asked county inspectors to look at the house. But Fivas said after asking several times, the county has not acted upon that request.

“We’ve just made another round of requests recently,” Fivas said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to get this taken care of soon.”

When asked when the first request was made to the county, Fivas said was unsure.

Friday, Brett Vines, public information officer for Union County, said Indian Trail’s first request was received by building inspectors Wednesday. It was added to the list of requested inspections, he said. 

“It’s only been a day and a half since they got it,” Vines said.

Meanwhile, Fivas said he hopes Wells Fargo will consider the town’s request to turn ownership over to them.

“We’ve contacted the bank,” he said. “So far, we’ve just been bounced around the banking system.”