CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- City leaders will reconsider a two year-old ordinance which was created to curb residential eyesores amid complaints the rule has led to other problems, including vandalism.
Implemented in January 2008, the policy places a six-month time limit for windows and doors covered with plywood and requires owners to register the vacant home with the city.
After six months, owners who leave their property covered with boards can be fined $500, plus $50 for each day the barricades remain in place.
About 200 boarded-up homes are registered with the city at any given time, said Walter Abernathy, Director of Charlotte's Code Enforcement Division.
"We do not intend to allow neighborhoods to be littered with boarded up structures any longer than they have to be," city council member Michael Barnes told NewsChannel 36.
In many cases, foreclosed homes remain vacant for more than a year.
Faced with potential fines, banks and holding companies are choosing to remove the protective barriers from vacant homes, leaving the property vulnerable to vandals.
Arturo Romo, a homeowner on Wandering Creek Drive in northwest Charlotte, said he has become frustrated with the shattered windows at a vacant house across the street from his property.
"You don’t want to see that," he said, adding the damaged home has become a safety hazard. "You've got kids running around and everything."
Barnes, who serves on a city council committee which is reviewing the boarded-up homes ordinance, said the rules will likely be changed to compensate for the recent increase in foreclosed properties.
"We’re going to be discussing ways to avoid allowing the property to become vandalized if the boards are taken down," he said.