Abandoned homes still a problem for Florence residents

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - There are hundreds of abandoned and dilapidated properties in Florence and people want them gone. Mayor Stephen Wukela says it's been difficult to get ordinances passed through city council to deal with the problem.

When some people knock on their neighbor's door, there's no answer. In fact, they find that no one has been living there for years.

Mayor Wukela says he's cleared more than 80 houses and 400 lots since he's been in office, but adds there are still hundreds remaining in the city.

[To view a list of the vacant lots in the area, click here (PDF)]

Although this is a priority for Wukela, he says there hasn't been much luck passing a strong ordinance for the issue.

He says the problem has escalated to becoming a danger to the development of the community.

Wukela explains there are several factors keeping council from agreeing to a stronger ordinance.

Things like the cost of demolition, finding the owners of the property and following South Carolina Laws dealing with the issue are at stake.

"It's a problem to the community, and it causes the value of the neighboring properties to go down," said Mayor Wukela.

Wukela says many of the residents have complained to him about some of the abandoned houses being used for drug-use. He says he's found syringes and drug paraphernalia on the lawn of some of the homes, making this initiative even more of a priority.

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