|Published: 6:23 PM, 03/22/2013
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
Editor's note: Mark Robinson, Newport Planning
Director/Building, Zoning and Code Compliance Official, was given the
opportunity to respond to Janice Cureton's letter to the editor.
The corner of Main Street and 321N remains the same after
12 years. What an eyesore! About 12 years ago, there was a florist in business
there briefly. Why has this property owner not been made to repair, restore and
re-fresh that group of empty buildings? The city did force the local beer
joints to clean up. Why not this property also? This is just unacceptable for
the Cocke County residents. How depressing it is to travel this road and
witness the "decaying" downtown of Newport. If the property is not
repaired then it should be condemned and torn down.
The two-story building referenced being on the corner of
Main Street and McMahan has been vacant for several years. The owner lives out
of town. The city has discussed the building with the owner, even trying to
negotiate possible purchase, but the owners are not inclined to sell. Recently,
a car went through the front window, damaging the floor structure. The owner
informed me that he had an engineer review the structure and found the building
to be safe. The front glass and framing have been replaced as well as floor
timbers. The owner has no plans for this building to date. Vacant buildings do
need to be maintained.
The other four buildings along Main Street between McMahan
and Woodlawn Avenue, including two vacant properties, are being acquired soon
and will be demolished. The new Library/Convention Center/Museum is planned to
be a draw for commerce downtown. The city is endeavoring to resolve the old
vacant building complaints. The process takes time. Legal issues need resolve.
Buildings with history and character need to be saved when possible. A property
owner needs to look at the cost of renovation versus what he will end up with.
Most of these vacant buildings are for sale.
The former florist shop building has been condemned, and
the owner was asked to renovate or demolish. The city is acquiring these six
properties and demolition will begin soon.
Cocke County citizens should encourage our county to
adopt the Building/Residential/Fire/Plumbing/Mechanical Codes for your safety
and that of your neighbors. The county can choose to not charge any fee for a
building permit or for inspections required.
Newport Planning Director/Building, Zoning, and Codes
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