Beaufort should address problem of decay, blight

Beaufort City Council should stay the course in addressing the problem of dilapidated homes in the Northwest Quadrant.

The council recently declared a dilapidated house at 1105 Greene St. in the city's historic district unfit for human habitation. As a result, if the owners do not apply for permits to fix it or demolish the home within a prescribed time frame, the city could tear it down and put a lien on the property for the cost of the demolition.

Two people asked the council for more time to find a buyer or work out an alternative to demolition.

The city should stay the course. As council members noted, that course includes a 60-day window for something to happen before the structure is removed. That's plenty of time to address a problem that has long been festering.

To the untrained eye, the Northwest Quadrant includes too many uninhabitable, unoccupied homes. They form a blight on the neighborhood and the city. Even though city officials have the ability to force homeowners to fix these houses, tear them down or pay the bill for someone else to tear them down, they appear reluctant to exercise that authority. That should not be the case. Rules on the books should be enforced or changed.

City ordinances represent the will of the people. If the will of the people is to rid the city of these signs of community decay, then the city should follow through.