‘It’s not safe at all’: Neighbors look for answers while abandoned home deemed unsafe still stands

A small neighborhood in Horry County is calling on officials to tear down an abandoned home deemed unsafe after nearly three years of asking for help.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 11:21 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 10:47 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A small neighborhood in Horry County is calling on officials to tear down an abandoned home deemed unsafe after nearly three years of asking for help.

When James Baber sits on his porch and looks to his right, he sees his quaint neighborhood; however, to his left is an overgrown property he said is falling apart.

“It’s an eyesore for the whole community. I mean the whole place just needs to be cleaned up. I don’t know if it’s even repairable anymore. If that’s the case, then it just needs to be torn down and removed to where it blends in with the rest of the community,” said Baber.

However, blending in with the community is not Baber’s only issue.

He said, the overgrowth of the property has led to snakes, and environmental problems, children go onto the property, and drug users have been caught in the abandoned home.

“We’ve had problems with people stopping here drug-related. I used to try and call the police to get them to come. We had one deputy that came here and went to look on the porch, and when he did, he almost fell through the floor going up to the porch. So, it’s not safe at all,” said Baber.

Baber first filed a complaint with Horry County Code Enforcement in 2020 and got other neighbors like Scott Whiteford to do the same.

“For several years now it’s just been dilapidated, falling apart. It’s just a real bad eyesore, and then we have a lot of snake issues now that are coming in without the property being cleaned up,” said Whiteford.

Those complaints prompted code enforcers to come out and deem the property unsafe. An abatement notice was posted on the home in October 2020 according to documents Baber shared with WMBF.

The notice gave the owners 60 days to make repairs or risk having the home torn down.

After years of neighbors filing complaints and making calls, WMBF reached out to Horry County Code Enforcement to find an answer.

The county told WMBF News the Covid-19 pandemic is to blame for the delay. The county said in a statement, in part,

“As a result of covid, non-essential court processes were closed and/or delayed for some time. The County’s unfit dwelling abatement program resumed in the summer of 2022. Horry County is currently working through the log of properties eligible for the abatement program. Before a property can be demolished under the program, there are several due diligence and due process steps which must be undertaken. Such steps include hearings and opportunities for appeal, title searches, among other elements.”

The county said the abandoned home is currently on that list of properties for consideration and potential action.

Cam Crawford, Horry County District 6 Councilman, said he also sent the issue over to the County Administrator on Monday in hopes to get the ball rolling.

He also said if you run into a similar problem, contact Horry County Code Enforcement and your county councilmember as soon as you can.

WMBF will stay in touch with the neighbors and keep you updated.