Dresden Condemnation Board to Discuss Status of Damaged Properties; Possible Condemnation




A called meeting of the Dresden Condemnation Board is scheduled to take place at the McWherter Civic Center on Thursday, April 21, beginning at 6 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to speak with the owners of local properties that received extensive damage in the December 10, 2021, tornado, but who have not yet begun to clean them up.

“We’ve sent out a letter and we’re going to have a meeting set up for those folks to come and discuss the status of what their plans are and how they’re planning on handling it,” Mayor Jeff Washburn said.

According to Dresden City Recorder Jennifer Branscum, it’s not a condemnation hearing and the city is not seeking to condemn these properties, at this time. The purpose of the meeting is to get an update whether the owners have insurance, or if they have plans to clean up, repair or demo their properties.

However, if these property owners take no action, it’s possible the Dresden Condemnation Board may consider initiating condemnation procedures. Branscum stated, if a property is condemned, the owner typically has 30 to 60 days to begin clean up, repairs or demolition.

As noted in previous Dresden City Board meetings, the city will have the option of cleaning up the property and billing the owner for all expenses incurred. If the cleanup costs are not paid to the city, legal action may be initiated to sell the property in order to recoup costs.

According to Mayor Washburn, the city of Dresden anticipates utilizing Quality Contractor Services for approximately one or two months, or until the debris removal is complete, but no more than six months beginning from the date of disaster declaration on February 3, 2022.

Mayor Washburn stressed, local citizens need to get their construction and vegetative debris moved out next to the road so it can be hauled off, before the six-month window closes for FEMA disaster relief funding.

“We’re trying to get some individual assistance funding for people to clean up their personal properties, but that’s up to FEMA whether they allocate those funds to do that,” Mayor Washburn said.

If the property owners wait too long, they may be responsible for the total cleanup costs.

“I think the property owners need to understand that we are on a time frame regarding the debris cleanup,” Branscum said. “It can’t go past August 3rd, because that’s the date the city is no longer eligible to be reimbursed by FEMA for debris cleanup.”

According to Branscum, a total of 26 property owners were notified by mail concerning the upcoming meeting. Of this number, the city has received seven responses regarding property clean up and debris removal.

“Since being notified of the situation, five properties have already been cleaned up and one was sold,” Branscum said. “Another property owner is incarcerated, but this is a commercial property and ineligible for cleanup funding, anyway.”

At last report, owners of the 14 remaining properties have not yet responded to the city’s notification letter and are expected to attend the April 21 meeting.

The memorandum that was sent out to property owners states: “As a result of the December 10, 2021, tornado, a list has been compiled of properties with a structure on it that have not had any action taken to repair or to demolish the structure.

“A property status update meeting has been scheduled to discuss your plans for the property. The property owner, or someone who is legally authorized to speak on behalf of the property owner, should be in attendance at this meeting. Failure of a property owner or authorized representative to attend the meeting May result in further action being taken by the condemnation board.

“The meeting will be Thursday April 21, at 6 p.m. at the McWherter Civic Center, located at 589 Evergreen Street. If you are not able to attend, please contact the recorder Jennifer Branscum at 731-364-2270 or cityrecorder@cityofdresden.net and let her know the status of the property.”