Hamlet Officials Continue Monitoring Progress at 503 S. Starke

Hamlet officials have agreed to hold off on condemnation proceedings on 503 South Starke Street as the owner continues to work on the home. During last week’s town council meeting, Council President Dave Kesvormas noted that the sewer and water lines have been corrected and are now within code.

Owner Robert Foust felt the home was almost in-line with the town’s ordinances. “I’ve got stuff to do in the house, to redo the water lines across the ceiling, to get them back there and keep them hidden,” he explained. “Other than that, it’s done.”

Town Attorney Martin Bedrock wasn’t convinced, though. “I’d say on the unsafe building code, it’s an uninhabitable structure, and it’s in need of plenty of work, and it’s taken him even two years to get to where he is with the sewer and water,” he said. “Who knows how long that house is going to remain like that? Uninhabitable and a mess from the outside.”

Council members pointed out that neighbors have raised concerns about a possible hole in the roof, but Foust said he wasn’t aware of one.

Kesvormas noted that Foust failed to show up for his last scheduled hearing with the zoning board, while some of his neighbors did show up to complain. Kesvormas said he thought the town would have a case for condemnation, but he would rather work with Foust, instead. “I kind of want to be in the position with this to say that we have a start date, a goal, and end date,” Kesvormas said. “This can’t be a 10-year remodeling project, Bob.”

“Let me ask you,” Foust replied. “If you think you’re kind of staying up with the game and everything is fine and then somebody walks in and files $223,000 bankruptcy on you, it takes time, buddy.”

Foust didn’t give council members a timeline for when he expects to be done. In the end, Kesvormas said he’d inspect the exterior of the home, and asked Foust to give an update during the next zoning board meeting. It and the next town council meeting have been rescheduled to Tuesday, July 9 at 6:30 p.m.