Florence County plans to destroy abandoned homes without owner cooperation


FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Florence County Council will move forward with plans to tear down abandoned homes, even if the property owner does not cooperate.

Council members want to tear down homes that are overgrown, unsightly, and could be harbors of crime.

One property in Tara Village has been abandoned for so long trees have taken over. Passersby can barely see the house, and it’s home like this that council wants to tear down throughout the county.

“Look how big these trees are. Where was the front yard?” questions Marilee Jackson, a Florence County neighbor fed up with the abandoned properties in her community.

“The majority of people that live out here take care of their properties and are very proud of where they live. Then you have a few eyesores like that,” explains Jackson.

Jackson created a community development group that counts about 10 vacant homes.

“People who don’t live here could just move right in. It’s a hazard. It’s dangerous and it’s unacceptable,” declares Jackson.

During Thursday’s meeting, Florence County Council approved the second reading of an ordinance that will allow the county to tear down the property if the owner does not keep it up. Council chair Kent Caudle says the change will help clean up neighborhoods.

“Nobody has done anything to it in years and we’ve made multiple attempts to contact the property owners about the property and see if they can do anything with it,” explains Caudle. “Some people just ignore them. Unfortunately, a lot of them are families that have passed on and have many heirs in many different places and just don’t want to fool with it.”

The county will not purchase the property. The ordinance says the county can demolish the property, place a lien on the land, preventing it from being sold until the cost for demolition is repaid.

“This gives us, it brings us more in line with where we need to be in this century,” justifies Caudle. “To be able to have some input on that kind of thing because it gives a bad reflection on our communities.”

Jackson says she fully supports council’s decision.

“They know that these houses exist. I just think they haven’t done anything. Now that they have this ordinance, I think that we can hope for a better neighborhood,” predicts Jackson.

Council will have the third and final reading of the ordinance at their next meeting in September.

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