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Main Street Properties Under Scrutiny

By Alexe van Beuren

 WATER VALLEY – There are some troubled citizens on North Main Street. And the city Planning Commission is faced again with how to enforce ordinances.

    Bruce and Stephanie Watson – along with Bruce Forrester – came before the Planning Commission on Monday, asking for the city’s help concerning two derelict properties.

    “I don’t know what you can do, or what the city can do,” said Watson, “but something needs to be done.”

    The first property – at 1301 North Main St. – is owned by Doris Cox. The house burned in February 2007 and has been standing since.

    “I can answer on my mom’s property,” said Planning Commission member Bonnie Cox.

    Cox assured the board that Billy Humphreys will be demolishing the gutted home “within the next three weeks.”

    “We got held up on the [asbestos] shingles,” added Cox.

    The discussion then moved to another property at 1301 North Main St.

    “It’s next to my house and right across from my business,” said Watson. He went on to describe for the board the debilitated house’s garbage, broken-down car, caved-in roof and apparent rodent infestation.

    “I was sitting on my front porch and a rat came out of the house, ran into the street, and got hit by a car,” said Watson.

    The house, which has been vacant for a number of months, has been foreclosed on and is now owned by an out-of-state bank.

    The Planning Commission acknowledged an ordinance against houses that pose a threat to public safety, but the group is unsure of how to go about enforcing the ordinance.

    Morris Surrette, the Planning Commission Inspector, will survey the property.

    Additionally, the planning commission will make a recommendation to the Water Valley Board of Aldermen to take a closer look at the property and to take the steps needed in order to have the property brought up to decency standards, or have the property torn down.

    Commissioners Jack Gurner, Eddie Foster, Levert Hawkins, Ken French and Bonnie Cox were present at the meeting, with Commissioner Billy Humphreys absent.

    The Planning Commission meets at City Hall on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. The community is welcome to attend.

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