Pascagoula cracking down on properties deemed to be “public menaces”
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - When the city designates a blighted property as a “public menace,” it doesn’t mess around when it comes to picking up the mess.
“The public menace route is the option of last resort to finally get these properties cleaned up,” said Pascagoula City Manager Michael Silverman.
The declaration of the properties is a monthly routine. The numbers are increasing as the administration continues to put a heavy emphasis on cleaning up. Just this week, five more properties were identified.
“For us, blighted properties can be a major impact on the economy and on public safety for a community,” Silverman said. “So that’s why we’ve made this a top priority to keep our community clean.”
The priority is keeping Justin Ferrill busy.
“Some of the properties I have to do right now,” he said as he flipped through his assignment sheets. “Right now, I have seven ...”
If the property owner fails to comply, the city has authority to do the contract the work at the owner’s expense. That’s where Justin and his father’s company, Jack Ferrill’s Heavy Equipment, comes in.
A blighted cleanup on Scovel Avenue was designated in October and is right across the street from another “public menace,” which the Ferrills will likely have to clean as well.
“Well, I mean it makes you feel bad because it is somebody’s property,” Justin said. “On the other hand, all the neighbors also deserve to have a clean neighborhood and streets.”
The process can take a lot of time while giving property owners every opportunity to follow the code.
“That is one of the great things about our planning and building department along with our code enforcement department,” Silverman added. “We want to be sure that we do everything the right way and we do everything the legal way.”
In January, there will be another public hearing to discuss five more blighted properties in the city.
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