Neighbors upset with 'eyesore' property; County says no codes - | WBTV Charlotte

Neighbors upset with 'eyesore' property; County says no codes are violated.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

It's not unusual to see a property with overgrown brush in some neighborhoods. But neighbors in Arlington Forest which is part of an extra territorial jurisdiction in Mecklenburg County - say they're living with more than overgrown - it's an eyesore.

"It's hard to describe" says Mike Gheesling. "It just looks terrible in other words."

Teresa Bartholomew says "it's unsightly for our neighborhood. I consider it a health hazard."

Friday afternoon when neighbors contacted WBTV - we called the county to see why the property is allowed to be in the state it is.

County health officials now tell WBTV workers inspected the property Monday morning.

"Our staff visit this morning confirmed that the building appears to be structurally sound, locked and secure, and appears to meet the minimum standards for inhabitability" a county spokesperson said.

According to County Code Enforcement, "the property is in an unincorporated area of the county, but it is in the ETJ (extra-territorial jurisdiction) of Mint Hill. In North Carolina, only planning and housing codes and ordinances apply in a municipality's ETJ.

So, Mint Hill's minimum housing codes apply, and County Code Enforcement is the enforcing agency for those codes. Overgrowth or noxious grass growth, however, is not part of planning or housing codes – that provision is considered a nuisance code or sometimes a separate grass code."

According to records, the man who lived at the August Lane property died in the house in 2013 sometime between May 7th and May 23rd. Neighbors smelled an odor and called emergency crews. They found the 59 year old's body inside.

People in the area say since then the property has been difficult to watch.

"The way it's overgrown. The condition of the house" says Bartholomew. "There are kids in the neighborhood that play and run around. I'd be worried about the kids getting in the house. I don't know what the shape of the house is like inside."

Neighbors say for the last year they've been asking for help.

"I'd like to see them clean it up, sell it, tear it down, do something because it is an eyesore" Gheesling says.

Bartholomew adds "we feel like we're being ignored because we're in Mecklenburg County. We're not in what you would call a real affluent neighborhood but we think just as much of our neighborhood as anybody does anywhere else."

Neighbors say they can't get county workers to come out and help them.

County staff tell WBTV they don't have any records of complaints about the property but Bartholomew says last summer "I contacted someone at Mecklenburg County Minimum Housing. I sent him pictures. The gentleman told me he would come out and take a look at it."

Bartholomew says she followed up with the county worker a few weeks later.

"He said he had not had time but he would get out to take a look at it but I have not heard anything."

After WBTV checked, county officials said they'll open a complaint and send a worker to inspect the property.

Code Enforcement said the property meets "the minimum standards for inhabitability. That is the limit of our ability to enforce on the town's behalf.  Essentially, in this particular location, there is no enforceable ordinance or code that would prohibit this kind of noxious growth."

According to county real estate records, the property is owned by the parents of the man who died in the house.

But the Mendenhalls died years ago, and left the property to their four children.

One son tells WBTV the matter has been complicated because no one person owns the land. All four siblings have to agree on how to settle the property but they can't find a brother.

The son says he did hire someone to clean the property but the person didn't do the job.

He says he'll try to take care of it himself next weekend.  

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