The City of Orangeburg is targeting areas it considers blighted.
Orangeburg City Council has unanimously passed a resolution declaring areas as “blighted” and authorizing the elimination of blighted properties.
“The resolution basically declares the area generally known as the Railroad Corner as blighted. This would give the city the ability to condemn properties for the purpose of redevelopment, and condemn properties that fall within the definition of blighted,” Orangeburg City Administrator Sidney Evering said.
The city is working with the University of North Carolina Development Finance Initiative to create plans for the redevelopment of Railroad Corner, which is traditionally defined as the area bounded by Russell, Treadwell and Boulevard streets.
Evering did not identify any particular parcel of property on Railroad Corner as blighted.
He said the resolution defines blighted as “buildings that essentially don’t meet the building code standards, in other words, buildings that are deteriorated, outdated electrical services, unsanitary, roof leaks, water damage, dilapidated, obsolete and fall below minimum building code standards.”
“Those buildings would be considered blighted and subject to condemnation,” Evering said.
Once a property is deemed blighted, the city could try to obtain the property.
“So essentially, the property would be appraised, and then the property owners would be notified, and the process of eminent domain condemnation would take place, whereby the city could possibly pay the property owner the appraised value for the property, and take the property for purposes of redevelopment,” Evering said.
Evering said this resolution is part of an effort the clean up the city.
The city also has a “weeds and other offensive matter” ordinance that also addresses property issues. Specifically, the ordinance imposes fines on property owners who do not comply with orders to remove yard waste, weeds and other matter from the property.
City of Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler said it is important that the city is clean.
“It’s our desire to clean up every area, especially those areas that need immediate attention. That was one of the things that I ran on, is to clean up dilapidated buildings and areas. It’s the sentiment of the entire council to make Orangeburg a beautiful place and clean it up,” Butler said.
“As the mayor, I support the ordinance we put in place. I want to see it work, I want to see Orangeburg beautiful,” Butler said.
Evering said the clean-up effort will benefit the city and its’ citizens.
“We just want to have pride in the city and make sure that, again, these dilapidated buildings are not nuisances and bringing down the property value of neighbors and folks next to them,” Evering said.
“We just want to make sure the city is cleaned up, and these dilapidated buildings are not eyesores, and all of that makes it difficult to attract economic development and investors here,” Evering said.