The Wilson County Planning and Zoning Committee plans to discuss dilapidated structures in the county, an issue discussed and deferred at its November meeting.
The committee will meet Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.
The entire board appeared to be in agreement on the need to clean up abandoned or neglected lots and buildings throughout the county, but the question was to whether a proposed resolution is the best solution or if other options exist.
While the entire committee voiced agreement on the need for a solution, Commissioner Annette Stafford was the most vocal about the issue, as many of the structures affect citizens in her Lebanon district.
“If we want more businesses to come to the 20th District, we must first clean up the outdated structures and make it more welcoming,” Stafford said. “As Wilson County grows, we are looking forward to the 20th District’s growth, as well.”
One citizen in support of action is Craig Pitts whose property is surrounded by nearly a dozen dilapidated or abandoned structures on Trousdale Ferry Pike. Pitts and several of his neighbors discussed the need for action as they have seen squatters enter some of the structures, some of which were abandoned more than a decade ago. Other citizens’ concerns have to do with safety and the potential of the structures lowering surrounding home values.
“We’ve basically got a dump over there. We’ve got a lot of drug activity over there. We’ve got a lot of abandoned houses, collapsed roofs and a very dangerous situation.” Pitts said. “Our concern is there are varmints, propane tanks and other things that are just an explosive hazard. The children who get off the bus every day in that area, most of them are probably going to the Spring Hill townhouse area, but they sometimes are seen at this dump site, and they’re around all these hazards, and, frankly, we are concerned about a death occurring, and we’re hoping that we can continue to make some progress so that we can get the area cleaned up and get it safe.”
Pitts said he and others concerned about the issue do not advocate the government just come in and take anyone’s homes or property away from them, but something needs to be done to clean up structures that are a “death trap.”
The committee previously discussed the challenges of how the county would be able to afford to tackle all of the possible cases that may fall under the proposed resolution.Currently, complaints of severely overgrown or dilapidated structures are addressed directly through the court system, when applicable.