Derelict vehicles targeted in effort to battle blight

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The City of Spartanburg is battling blight  by targeting derelict vehicles. City leaders say they’ve been getting an increased number of requests to enforce  derelict vehicle laws in the public right of way and on private property.

“Every month at our monthly meetings we have someone complain about vehicles – not necessarily in our neighborhood – but on the way into our neighborhood,” said Beaumont Village Neighborhood Association President Joe Kowal. “It’s a nice, family oriented neighborhood that needs some improvements.”

Improvements like the city’s efforts to get rid of derelict vehicles. The city defines that as vehicles without a license plate, are inoperable, dismantled, or abandoned on private property. Kowal said a car on Gentry Street has been there for a long time and it shows.

READ: Spartanburg Derelict Vehicle Code 

“It’s gone by the wayside for years. We’re not talking months, we’re talking years,” said Kowal. “Finally it’s tagged and hopefully the people across the street, the people next to them, don’t have to see it anymore.”

It’s an issue Spartanburg’s Senior Code Enforcement Officer says they’re addressing city-wide along with police officers

“The ultimate goal here is to get compliance,” said Jeffery Tillerson, Senior Code Enforcement Officer. “The city of Spartanburg does not want to tow anybody’s vehicle.”

In Beaumont Village and the Northside, 79 vehicles have be tagged with a 15 day notice to fix the problem.

“What that shows us is that shows us is that there is a need,” said Tillerson. “When the neighborhood associations complain about derelict vehicles or when council members, city staff, management get complaints about vehicles in neighborhoods we came up with more of a proactive approach.”

The city is placing signs like these at different intersections to let residents know their neighborhood is next.

“They’re rusted; some don’t even have tires on them. They’re on blocks,” said Tillerson. “The goal of the city is to improve overall conditions [and] quality of life for the city of Spartanburg.”

Not all residents think it’s necessary. “I think there are other issues that need to be addressed more so than derelict vehicles,” said Beaumont Village Resident Scott Klein.

Kowal said for people on a fixed income, there are concerns they may not be able to afford to address the vehicle in 15 days.

The derelict definition doesn’t apply to vehicles stored in a garage or some type of building. Another exception is if people are making repairs or maintenance that’ll be completed in a certain amount of time.

“Right now we’re planning on going back out May 10th,” said Tillerson. “We’re targeting the woodland heights area and we’re doing the area around CC Woodson and Mary H. White Greenway on the Southside.”

The city is targeting two neighborhoods per month with the hope of addressing the entire city by the end of this year. At the end of the 15-day notice the issue can either get taken to court or the vehicle could be towed.

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