The Georgetown municipality is becoming increasingly concerned about the noticeable number of houses and empty lots that have apparently been deserted by their owners.
This is according to Public Relations Officer, Royston King, who said that in some cases houses have been left to the mercies of the weather and to persons who have veered off the other side of normal life.
Some of these buildings, he said, are consistently vandalized while the yards are allowed to become overgrown with long grass, high bush and overhanging trees.
“Some houses just deteriorate and fall creating all sorts of problems for neighbours and local communities. Unfortunately, some citizens are forced to weed and clean such properties without compensation but for their own safety and that of their families.
“This is both unfair and unacceptable to those citizens who are doing their part to up keep their properties,” King asserted.
But what is more worrying, he said, is that such properties could be used by criminal elements, who could pounce on unsuspecting citizens and carry out other criminal activities. Some persons who are not particularly neighbourly use such empty lots as dump sites, thus encouraging public health nuisances, he added.
The law, according to King, gives the council the authority to clear and maintain such lots and to add the cost of the works to the rates of the owners. However, attempts by the staff of the city council Public Health Department to locate such homeowners have on many occasions proven futile.
“Perhaps, the council could approach the courts to resolve some of these cases which continue to affect the development of the city but the council is asking those, who may know the whereabouts and addresses of such neglectful absentee landlords to make contact with them and exhort them to pay attention to their properties and pay up their taxes to the city.”
The Mayor and City Council is also calling on citizens to desist from putting boulders, and other encumbrances on parapets and other thoroughfares, King said. Many citizens, he noted, continue to indulge in this practice to prevent motorists from parking or using the parapets and roadsides at the front of their premises to manoeuvre their vehicles.
King said that the council continues to receive complaints about this unfriendly behaviour of some of its citizens. Not only is this practice a violation of the city by laws but according to King, it is also very dangerous and a serious hazard to pedestrians, who are forced to walk in the way of vehicular traffic.
It should be noted, too, King said that since the parapets, pavements and other thoroughfares are owned by all the citizens no individual has the right to appropriate any such facilities for their personal use.
Anyone who is desirous of placing anything, including any sign at the front of their premises, must seek and obtain the approval of the City Engineer, King added.
He insisted “that under the law, the City Engineer has the authority to remove any and all such encumbrances from pavements and parapets in the city of Georgetown.”
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