Abingdon Aldermen Discuss Battered Buildings

The City of Abingdon is having a hard time getting building owners to take responsibility for their properties.

Aldermen discussed during Monday night’s city council meeting the number of vacant and dilapidated buildings around town.

Mayor John DeJaynes told aldermen in June owners were sent a letter from the city attorney asking them to fix and clean up their buildings, but he says only a handful responded and even less took action.

This has left aldermen with two options and City Attorney Jack Ball says they do have the right to take owners to court.

“The next step is to institute proceedings to demolish,” Ball said.  “[The property owners will] still get notices.  Hopefully, at that point in time, they will step up to try and fix it, or tell you what it needs.  Probably, the next step would be to get your engineers involved — or someone involved — to specifically identify what the problems are.”

DeJaynes was not thrilled with the idea of taking owners to court saying it would be a financial mistake. 

He suggested letters be resent giving owners the chance to fix up their buildings, but reminding them they can be taken to court if they fail to comply.

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