Frankford forms appeals board to address structures

The Frankford Town Council has approved creation of a four-member Appeals Board that will investigate and hear appeals regarding dilapidated houses in the town.

The board members are Kyle Quillen, Duane Beck, Priscilla Schoolfield and Pam Davis.

At the Jan. 6 town council meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Jamie Reed identified three properties he views as unsafe and qualifying for the start of condemnation procedures: 159 Clayton Avenue, 83 Clayton Avenue and 7 Knox Street.

All three, Reed said, are unsafe, but he expressed particular concern about the Knox Street property, a barn-type structure about which he said, “We get a strong wind, it’s down. It’s gone.”

About 83 Clayton Avenue, Reed said, “Kids have been playing in it,” adding that “I don’t know how they can stand the smell, which he identified as that of cat feces and “tomcat spray.” He said he could also see dead pigeons inside the home.

Town Council President Joanne Bacon said the Town is still in the early stages of having a process by which homes can be condemned.

“There’s still a lot we have to do” before that can happen, Bacon said.

The appointment of the appeals board is the first step in that process. Their first task will be to settle on a process through which properties can be condemned.

That process will need to be laid out before any condemnation procedures can move forward. Reed said he has not entered any of the homes he has deemed unsafe but has seen enough from the outside of the properties to consider them in need of condemnation.

There was some discussion of what the responsibilities of the appeals board would be — particularly whether they would investigate the properties or just hear appeals. Town Treasurer John Wright said that he felt the board’s involvement should just be to oversee any appeals.

“I would hope,” he said, “they’re hearing about them for the first time” during a hearing process.

Council Vice President Greg Welch agreed that the Town needs to first set up a procedure for condemnation.

“It shouldn’t be easy to condemn a property,” he said.

Bacon noted that “We have never done this,” to which Reed added, “It’s a learning process.”

In other business, the council noted that a security camera system has now been installed and is in operation in Frankford Town Park. The cameras can be viewed by council members on their cell phones, as well as by Police Chief Laurence “Larry” Corrigan.

The council also noted a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 8, to discuss a proposal from Artesian Water Co. to purchase the Town’s water plant and connect the Town’s water system with Artesian’s other nearby service areas. Since that meeting occurred after the Coastal Point’s press time this week, it will be covered in our Friday, Jan. 17, print edition, as well as on the Coastal Point Facebook page and our website at www.coastalpoint.com.

 

By Kerin Magill
Staff Reporter