The roof on the home at 721 E. Seventh Street is sagging inward toward an inevitable collapse, and the gently rotting boards supporting the front porch are no longer up to the task.
The dilapidated house, which sits between two occupied homes in a city neighborhood, resembles many of the neglected properties that plague Yazoo City.
Many of the neglected properties found throughout the city are owned by people who live somewhere else. Those individuals don’t regularly see the negative impacts their properties have on the communities where they are located. Perhaps they don’t even realize how their nuisance properties affect others in ways ranging from bringing down property values to attracting drug users and vagrants.
The property on 721 E. Seventh Street is owned by Yazoo City resident M.L. Coleman, who is a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Board.
Mayor Diane Delaware says that position means Coleman shouldn’t need the city to tell him that his property needs to be brought up to code.
Coleman’s property was one of 15 properties that must be brought up to code within 30 days or the city will have the option to clean the properties up and assess the cleanup costs to the owners’ tax bills after action taken by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Monday.
Coleman said he wants to repair the property, but 30 days isn’t enough time.
“I am a builder myself, and I’ve been in construction for years, and I know that 30 days is not going be enough time in the heart of winter for me to do what I need to do to that house,” Coleman said.
“Not enough time to do what, sir,” Delaware asked.
“I need to take the top off of it, and I would like to bring it up to the standard that my house is,” Coleman said.
Delaware asked Coleman why he didn’t repair the property during the summer if he knew the winter weather would be an obstacle.
“What happened during the many summers,” she asked.
“Oh yes, there have been many summers,” Coleman responded.
“Many, many summers,” Delaware said.
Coleman said that the house doesn’t have any missing windows or doors, and the vegetation is no longer as bad as it was in the photo used during the public hearing Monday.
“Mr. Coleman you are on the Planning and Zoning Committee for the city of Yazoo City, and I am beginning to speculate that you know that you know that you should have done something to this house,” Delaware said. “I think you know the situation.”
“You are right, and I am also planning to bring the house up to today’s code,” Coleman said. “I’m not going to tell you that I can get it done in 30 day, though.”
“You can bring it up to code in 30 days,” Delaware said.
“I do plan to repair the house, but it’s not going to be in 30 days,” Coleman said. “If I need to go in there and camouflage it, I can do that. I don’t have a problem with that.”
Delaware said that residents coming to public hearings concerning their properties need to come prepared with realistic plans to bring their properties up to code. She pointed to the owner of the property located at 105 E. Second Street as an example of someone she expects to have the work done on time.
Progress of Main Street
Perhaps the most notable properties on the list Monday were the crumbling buildings on the fourth block of Main Street that have long stood in contrast to the progress being made elsewhere in Yazoo historic business district.
The properties include:
414 South Main Street
416 South Main Street
418 South Main Street
428 South Main Street
431 South Main Street
None of those property owners were present at the public hearings that determined that they were in a state of uncleanliness constituting a menace to public health, safety and welfare.