Area residents will have their first opportunity this morning to comment on a proposed dilapidated structures ordinance that is being considered by the Mercer County Commission. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, today’s public hearing will be a virtual only affair. So those individuals who would like to comment will have to participate through either Zoom or Facebook live.
In all, three public hearings will be held on the proposed ordinance. Today’s hearing begins at 10 a.m. So you will need to be signed into Zoom or Facebook live by that time to participate. A second online hearing will be held on March 9 starting at 10 a.m., once again only through Facebook Live or Zoom.
If you don’t have access to Facebook Live or Zoom, or would simply prefer to share your comments in person with the commissioners, you are in luck. The third public hearing will be an actual in-person public hearing held at the Mercer County Courthouse on Tuesday, March 23, beginning at 6 p.m. Face coverings will be required, and social distancing will be enforced.
The hope is that area residents will provide feedback to the commissioners at all three public hearings regarding the proposed abandoned and dilapidated building ordinance.
The commissioners will hold a full reading of the ordinance at today’s public hearing. Three additional readings also will be required before the commissioners can vote on the ordinance as presented.
The commission has been working on a dilapidated building ordinance ever since the county’s comprehensive plan was created in 2018.
The county planning commission looked at several different dilapidated structures ordinances, including one from neighboring Raleigh County, before drafting the local plan.
“This is not zoning,” commissioner Greg Puckett reiterated in a recent interview. “We are not concerned about dilapidated structures on farmlands.”
Abandoned and dilapidated structures are a big problem in Mercer County. In fact, most area residents can pinpoint an abandoned structure that is in a state of disrepair in their individual neighborhood. Some of these buildings are in danger of falling down, which creates a public health concern. Such blighted structures also can reduce property values and make the county less appealing to businesses and visitors alike.
But the commissioners need to hear from area residents before making a decision on whether or not to proceed with this ordinance. If you can participate in today’s virtual hearing, please consider doing so. If you would prefer to attend an actual public hearing, please plan on attending the Tuesday, March 23, hearing at the courthouse.
Your input on this proposed ordinance is needed.