CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte city leaders are taking action following an NBC Charlotte Defenders investigation into a blighted property.
An elderly woman next door to the property told NBC Charlotte she’s reported concerns about rats and snakes to the city but with no permanent results.
The Defenders have been investigating blighted properties for months. Our investigation revealed thousands of property owners have several city code violations.
The latest Defenders investigation focuses on a property on Parkway Avenue. Just days after NBC Charlotte contacted the city, officials took several steps, including hiring a contractor to cut the grass.
NBC Charlotte obtained audio recordings from 311 calls show Maxine Townshend has repeatedly called to complain about the property next door -- from September 2017 to May 2018, and again in June.
“I’ve thrown mothballs out there trying to keep out snakes,” Townshend said in one 311 call.
“I just want somebody out here to cut this grass down,” she said in another call.
“I’ve tried and tried and tried,” Townshend told NBC Charlotte.
However, the 79-year-old woman said despite all her calls to the city, the property right next door still looked unsightly.
“It’s just an eyesore,” Townshend said. “I don’t think it’s fair, I have to pay taxes and live next door to something like this.”
Blighted properties are nothing new in the city of Charlotte. In fact, a previous NBC Charlotte Defenders investigation found more than 2,000 property owners had at least three violations in 2017. Starting this year, the city upped the penalty for repeat offenders with fines of $250 for a fourth violation.
After NBC Charlotte contacted the city’s neighborhood services department about the property on Parkway Avenue, they took action.
“We’ve had to contract out the weeds and grass, we’ve had to request the ownership to secure the structure itself,” said Ben Krise, Charlotte’s code enforcement manager.
The city also sent NBC Charlotte photos showing the back door boarded up.
“When you showed up, they cleaned up a whole lot,” Townshend told NBC Charlotte. “And I appreciate it so much.”
City officials said they issued a demolition order for the structure at a hearing last month if the violations are not corrected by December 4th. The demolition would still need to be approved by the city council.