As a realtor, Heather Barrineau told the Corbin City Commission that the number and state of blighted properties within the city can be a difficult selling point when dealing with clients looking to relocate to Corbin.
As a homeowner on Christian Street, Barrineau told the commissioners that one of the worst cases can be seen from her kitchen window.
The two-story craftsman style home at 407 Christian Street is missing a large portion of the front porch cover, has paint chipping and peeling all over and overgrown grass and landscaping.
Barrineau said in addition to the maintenance issues, the house appears overrun with cats and birds.
Barrineau said the property owner began work on the roof in May and work continued through July.
“It was just left,” Barrineau said. “It was not done by any means. They just walked off and nothing has been done since that point.”
Barrineau said house does not appear to be occupied and has been empty for as long as she can remember.
“The owner comes maybe a couple of times a week, checks the mail, opens the door, looks and leaves,” Barrineau said adding that it appears the only time any care or upkeep is done on the property is when it may be reaching the point where the city may step in and take action.
Tuesday afternoon an individual who declined to give his name, but said he was related to the homeowner, was cutting the grass at the property.
The individual said a portion of the porch was removed last summer but work ended because of the severe heat.
There are plans to remove the remainder of the porch and to paint the house.
The individual said Barrineau had seen them working last year and had come over to speak with them about it. Because of that, he said he was surprised to hear she came before the commission to complain.
“We want to keep it up to standards,” the individual said.
As to whether the house would be sold, rented or occupied, he said didn’t know what the owner planned.
“You can drive down just about any street in Corbin and see something similar to this with a very nice home on one side of the street and one that looks to be abandoned or close to it on the other, and I would just like to see some action taken and steps taken to not have such varying home values right next to each other.
Barrinueau said she has worked with physicians, railroaders and other individuals who are relocating to Corbin because of business and run into similar situations where an eyesore property is next door or across the street to well kept properties.
Commissioner Trent Knuckles, who served on the Corbin Code Enforcement Board for 13 years, said there are, unfortunately, a lot of problem properties in Corbin such as this.
“It takes a while to do something,” Knuckles said.
Knuckles asked Corbin Code Enforcement Officer Frank Burke what he intends to do.
Burke said it is on a list of properties he and City Manager Marlon Sams had put together detailing property maintenance issues.
“I can’t give you a definite time,” Burke said when asked when it might be addressed.
Knuckles asked that in the future, the commissioners be given the agenda and minutes for the code board’s monthly meetings and that Burke provide a short monthly update on efforts to enforce property maintenance violations.
“There are a lot of things going on. I know there are,” Knuckles said of the code enforcement efforts.
Knuckles said there is nothing against a building being vacant, but that it still must be up to code.
“We’ve had a lot of homes that have had citations against them that looked that bad or not even that bad,” Knuckles said.
Mayor Willard McBurney said there are at least two properties that he is aware of that are in severe violation of the code enforcement ordinances but the city has not been able to resolve the matter.
“We get held up in litigation,” McBurney said.
Burke said if anyone has any questions concerning the status of a certain property, they are welcome to call or come to his office and ask.
“We pretty much have an open door policy,” Burke said.
Burke said the majority of the properties he is dealing with are rental properties and in some cases, the owners are out of state.
“The large problem is rental properties,” Burke said.