After postponing adoption of new code enforcement regulations at the request of a real estate association last week, North Charleston City Council debated the proposed rules again Thursday night, and decided they liked them just fine.
The Charleston Trident Realtors Association had a number of concerns, and the issue won’t be fully resolved until there’s yet another council vote.
At issue are new rules aimed at cracking down on dilapidated commercial buildings.
North Charleston’s attorney, Derk Van Raalte, said the regulations would make it easier to deal with absentee landlords, by not having to personally serve them with a summons, but he said the ordinance would not be a major change.
“It’s a relatively minor expansion of what we have been doing, at least conceptually,” he said.
Ryan Castle, governmental affairs director for the association, questioned why the ordinance was needed if it doesn’t give the city any new powers. Then he described all the concerns real estate businesses have with the rules.
Of particular concern was the idea of the city pursuing complaints against commercial buildings that are “unsightly.”
“What’s unsightly to one is not unsightly to another,” Castle said. “This could be a way for North Charleston to police aesthetics.”
Van Raalte said it would be hard to comprehensively define what “unsightly” means in an ordinance, but “to some extent, when you drive down the road you know it when you see it.”
Castle also asked council members to better define the process for appealing violations, and include language in the ordinance about extensions of time to address repairs, but council members instead voted unanimously to recommend the regulations for approval without changes during a Finance Committee meeting. Council members Dorothy Williams and Todd Olds were absent the meeting.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552