Beaufort News

Beaufort council to decide house's fate

With its collapsed roof, weathered interior and structurally unsound walls, the home at 1105 Greene St. in Beaufort's Historic District is unsafe and needs to come down, a city staff member said in a memorandum.

The property owner hasn't taken any action since being served an order to repair or demolish the structure March 18, Planning Director Libby Anderson said in an Oct. 19 memo, so the Planning Department recommends City Council take matters into its own hands.

Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the building's condition today, vote on whether to declare the building "unfit for human habitation." If it does, council likely will order the owner to demolish the structure within 30 days.

If the owner fails to do so, Beaufort could then tear down the structure and put a lien on the property for the cost of the demolition.

The owner, listed as Charlaine Cuthbert of Cheverly, Md., on Beaufort County's online Property Max system, could not be reached for comment Monday. County records say the house was built in 1945.

Beaufort's Historic Planner Donna Alley said staff has not verified that date.

It is not listed on any existing historic survey, Alley said, and is not considered a historic property. But if the home had been improved, it could potentially have joined one of those lists, she said.

The city's Historic District Review Board approved demolition June 9.

The push to clean up derelict, vacant and abandoned properties is part of a city-wide initiative that began more than a year ago, Alley said.

Work has included neighborhood cleanups, new neighborhood associations and better communication with existing groups and overgrown lot cleanups.

City staff and codes enforcers comb through the city looking for properties that pose safety hazards, Alley said.

"They try to get the owners to repair them if possible or demolish them if needed," Alley said. "You hope that if you can call attention to issues you can get them fixed before the whole roof falls in."