POINT PLEASANT — When tourists come to Point Pleasant, local officials want them to take in attractions like the Riverfront Park or the Point Pleasant River Museum — not homes roped off with yellow tape to denote the alleged discovery of meth manufacturing.
“It makes the city look terrible,” Mayor Brian Billings said. “We as a council have to do something to clean this up, or they will sit there for years and years.”
There are already four homes within the City of Point Pleasant which are sitting empty due to meth manufacturing which allegedly occurred inside.
Sensing the writing on the wall, Point Pleasant City Council has asked City Attorney R.F. Stein to draft an ordinance which will address these types of properties on a local level, should more be discovered. As of right now, the city follows the state law as it pertains to alleged meth manufacturing in homes.
Jeremy Bryant, city inspector, said due to a lack of local legislation, there’s really not much the city can do but follow state guidelines. These guidelines include one of two choices for the alleged meth property — clean it up to meet specific standards defined by the state, or tear down the property.
The city doesn’t want to alter those two very specific criteria in the state law regarding the cleaning or demolishing of these properties. It does, however, want to add a time frame for just how long those properties can sit empty without one of those two options taking place.
Billings said council has discussed adding a 30 to 45 day time frame to the possible ordinance. Billings said it was his understanding at least a draft of the new ordinance could be presented at the next city council meeting.
“I’m sick of it, the citizens are sick of it,” Billings said. “We need to quit letting homes sit and speed up the process of taking care of these properties at the owner’s expense.”
Unfortunately, there’s the possibility those alleged meth houses which are already sitting empty, may be exempt from any new ordinance in terms of adhering to a time frame. They could be exempt because at the time they were ordered to be vacated, no local ordinance existed which imposed the time frame. However, those houses are still subject to state law which clearly states the properties must be demolished or cleaned.
If it turns out these existing properties would in effect be “grandfathered in,” Billings said this doesn’t mean the city will stop trying to get in touch with the owners to put pressure on them to maintain their properties - he said that is already happening. As for any new properties which would be deemed vacated due to meth manufacturing, if the city gets a new ordinance in place it would have a local response to what has become a national epidemic.
According to Bryant, homes which have been vacated due to alleged meth manufacturing can be found on Lincoln Ave., Garfield Ave., Jefferson Ave. and Viand St.