The Enforcement of Ordinances – If Only A ‘Enforcer’ Code Ring From A Cracker Jack Box Would Do The Trick

You wouldn’t be keeping me company on Main Street if you weren’t interested, hopeful, and slightly addicted to architecture – commercial and residential. Above all else, you are a member of the cheerleading squad for the revitalization of Rocky Mount. Those of you who grew up here are the wind under the sails of people like myself who have joined you. Your memories, the stories you tell, the families that raised you, the streets you grew up on, have captured my imagination and heart. I will admit that my breath is taken away when someone says to me, ‘nothing will change.’  I have to pick myself up and start again.  Someone has written on Concerned Citizens that the downtown should be bulldozed flat. They aren’t reading this blog or they would know how vital the preservation of Main Street is to a sense of place that people are looking for when considering relocation.

We could talk late into the night about WHY ordinances have not been regularly enforced across the board, and who is responsible. For the sake of this discussion, let us say that the more we have come to recognize the value of preservation, restoration, and repurposing, we realized that the lack of enforcement has cost us dearly. I want you to think about what continues to be critical in saving the remaining commercial architecture in the historic downtown district. Please read through the two paragraphs below and get a feel for what is supposed to be protected and enforced. Anyone with walking around sense knows that the longer the neglect continues, the more costly and difficult saving the buildings becomes. Let’s see where this takes us with several more posts about this subject.

Demolition By Neglect:  Sec. 5-135. – Standards.

The exterior features of any building or structure located within the Central City Historic District shall be preserved by the owner and/or parties in interest against decay, deterioration and structural defects. The owner and/or parties in interest shall upon written request of the city repair such exterior features if they are found to be deteriorating, or if their condition is contributing to deterioration, including but not limited to, any of the following defects:

2nd Story Broken Glass Along Main Street

(1) Deterioration of exterior walls, foundations, flooring, carpet walls, roofs, beams, chimneys, and either horizontal or vertical load-bearing supports that cause leaning, sagging, splitting, listing or buckling; (2) Ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs, and foundations, including broken windows/doors, failed paint, leaking roofing, decayed brickwork or failed siding materials; (3) Rotting, holes and other forms of decay; (4) Damages caused by fire or other calamity; (5) Deterioration of exterior stairs, porches, handrails, window/door frames, cornices, entablatures, wall facings or other architectural details that cause delaminating, instability, loss of shape or crumbling; (6) Deterioration of fences, gates, garden walls or accessory structures; (7) Deterioration of any exterior feature that creates or permits a hazardous or unsafe condition to life, health or other property.
Boarded up windows and street barricades are allowed if they are painted a similar color to the remaining exterior facade.          (Ord. No. O-2009-126, § 1, 12-14-09)

PS: If you aren’t following the new Facebook page –Main Street Rocky Mount, I invite you to do so. Learning to speak Main Street is imperative. I love this new endeavor. I hope you will too.