Neighbors say they've found an answer to Fort Mill "eye sore"

Published: Dec. 7, 2011 at 10:18 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM EST
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FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) - It's been standing in Fort Mill for 20 years falling apart since the downfall of the Jim Bakker.  Morning star ministries bought the old PTL tower eight years ago with the promise to fix it up into retirement community.

Money and legal battles have clouded the future of what neighbors call an eye sore.

However those same residents around the tower say they may found a loop hole in the system, and filed a petition on a little known county ordinance hoping the law will finally get something done.

Eric Kissinger has called everyone from the county to the state house to try and get something done about the old PTL tower that looms over his neighborhood in Fort Mill.

"They have not done anything with the tower at all," said Kissinger

When he thought all hope was lost, he found a county ordnance about unfit dwellings,  dangerous structures or nuisances.

"It's defiantly a nuisance," said Kissinger.

In short the ordnance reads unfit dwellings are unlawful if found in dilapidation, or unsafe to residents of the county.

"There are many things that it states that fits this building exactly," said Kissinger.

And he may be right. Back in June of this year people were caught trespassing in the tower.  The sheriff's report even called the building "dilapidated".

At that time WBTV's Trent Faris spoke with the Director of Safety at Morning star ministries who owns the tower he even said about the building was "A very dangerous environment."

The county ordnance was written in 2002.  Morning Star took over the building in 2004 with plans to repair it and sell the apartments.  So since the building is technically a dwelling it falls under the regulations of the ordinance.

The ordinance goes on to state if the owner can't repair the property the county can take over and demolish it.

In 2010 the York County Council gave Morning Star a dead line to find the funding to fix the place up.

In June of that year the county found Morning Star in default of that agreement.

Since then the county and Morning Star have been going back and forth in legal battles.

Kissinger says the law is clear, and he's contacted attorneys about it.

"They say they have to do something based on the way this Ordinance is written and if they don't we can sue York County and we're prepared to do so if we have to," said Kissinger.

Now that the petition is filed - the county must research and act within 30 days.

York County manager Jim Baker told WBTV the county has set a date of January 30th to discuss the future of the tower with Morning Star with a mediator, and if an agreement can't be reached the county can take Morning Star to court.

However, Baker went on to say if that happens it could take even longer before the tower's future is decided.