SALISBURY, N.C. -- Salisbury city leaders are expected to approve a crackdown on boarded-up homes which includes less time for owners to make repairs and potential fines if they don't.
Right now homeowners get a year to make repairs. The new repair time would be six months.
Homeowners would also have to register with the city if they board up homes, submit a repair or tear down plan, follow the time guidelines and provide contact information where they can realistically be reached.
Failing to abide by city code could lead to a $500 initial fine, plus $50 a day after that.
An informal city study in 2011 identified 113 homes in Salisbury that were boarded up, officials said.
Reasons why some homes remain boarded up for years include them not being reported, being in various conditions and states of repair, plus staffing issues when it comes to checking them, official said.
Antoine Cowan lives in what he calls "the graveyard" on Cemetery Street. He says the area is where some older homes go to die, while pointing out an old home with part of its roof flapping in the breeze and doors and windows covered with plywood.
"It's been boarded up since I've been here," Cowan said. "It makes the neighborhood look bad."
Makeba Beatty lives next to two boarded up homes on Knox Street.
"Just terrible," she said. "It makes the whole neighborhood nasty."
Looks aren't the only concern.
Neighbors say some boarded up homes double as drug and alcohol dens and is another reason they support the crackdown.
"Would be a nice house if they fix it up," she said.
If approved, homeowners would also have guidelines for plywood, including using screws and paint.
Officials say the amended code is not meant to encourage homeowners to board up their homes, instead, have guidelines for those who do.
Homes currently boarded up would have a 90-day grace period to register with the city and comply with new regulations, if approved.
The Salisbury City Council is expected to vote on the crackdown April 2.