SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — City leaders in South Pittsburg have been asked to address the poor condition of Mountain View Apartments at the end of Hamilton Avenue in the Richard City area.
At the December meeting of the South Pittsburg City Commission, former mayor Bob Sherrill told the board that it's an issue "that concerns me greatly."
"That place is so deteriorated, they tell me that some of the apartments aren't inhabitable," he said.
Sherrill asked city leaders to take action by contacting the owner and possibly issuing formal warnings or citations to get the property cleaned up.
"What's at stake here are property values in the adjoining area," he said. "We need concentrated code enforcement, in my opinion."
Police Chief Wayne Jordan said he has spoken to the complex's Nashville-based owner and learned that some work to improve the condition of the apartments has been ongoing.
"They are making some progress, not great progress," he said.
A question arose at the meeting about whether or not the apartment complex was deemed Section 8 federally subsidized housing.
"You can rent Section 8, but [the owner] can also rent to anybody else," Commissioner Matt Stone said. "With Section 8, you can't have a felony record, and from my understanding, many people [living] down there have been in prison."
He said if someone has a voucher to rent through Section 8, he or she could rent an apartment there or anywhere else.
Stone said how the rent is paid isn't the issue regarding the conditions at Mountain View Apartments, though.
"Most of the issues down there are going to be from people that have been in prison," he said.
City Attorney Billy Gouger said there are minimum standards for properties to qualify for Section 8 housing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"It's likely [the current owner] is not aware of that," he said.
Gouger said a HUD inspection was likely done early on at Mountain View Apartments, but he's not sure how often those inspections are performed or when the last one might have occurred.
South Pittsburg's current building and municipal codes address the condition of structures in the city limits, and Gouger said those rules could be enforced at the apartment complex by the chief of police and the building inspector.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org