Month after month, meeting after meeting, Zebulon commissioners have hemmed and hawed about how to deal with a property owner who has all but stiff-armed the town’s efforts to improve his dilapidated building.
The structure at 116 N. Arendell Avenue, has been found in violation of building safety codes. Town planners have written letters to the building’s owner. They’ve threatened, they’ve pleaded. They’ve even gone to the property owner with offers of assistance. None of it has worked.
Finally, last month, commissioners directed the town staff to issue a final letter to the property owner, giving him 30 days to do something about the problem.
But even that letter has proven ineffective and so, last week, commissioners got the town’s lawyer involved. Eric Vernon will have the right in less than two weeks to pursue final condemnation of the property, which would give the town the right to make changes to the property on their own.
That, however leads to another question commissioners have been hesitant to address. Should the town simply secure the property so as to make it structurally safe? Or should the town fix it to the point that it’s a useful downtown property? Or, as most people seem to oppose, should the town simply knock it down and let someone start from scratch with a new building?
Aside from generally disapproving of the idea of knocking the old building down, commissioners have been reticent to say exactly what the town should do. Most say that haven’t made a decision on what they would approve of.
But the time is quickly coming when the town board is going to have to make that decision. It would be nice if commissioners were bit more sure of themselves than they currently proport to be. It’s an important decision because whatever they do, their decision is likely to have significant ramifications for downtown Zebulon. Now is not the time for indecisiveness.