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How long can a burned out home stand in downtown Wilmington? What can be done about it?

Shelby Sebens

Wilmington residents with complaints or concerns about issues such as illegal dumping or unfit housing should call the Code Enforcement Division at (910) 341-3266 to make a complaint, according to city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert.

Once the city gets a complaint, that starts the process of code enforcement contacting the affected property owner to educate them about the complaint and what they need to do to get the situation resolved, Talbert said.

Sometimes, if a structure is vacant, the process may take more time because the city has to track down the owners — they often live outside the region or state and sometimes there are several property owners for one structure, all in different locations.

If someone does make a complaint, the city starts a case. First the city makes an initial inspection. If a violation is found, the case is initiated and the property owners are sent a letter. The owner has 15 days to address the problem if it is a public nuisance or 30 days if it a zoning violation.

If the property is no longer in violation after the next inspection, the case is closed.

If it is still in violation, the owners are fined $100 for the first day. If the problem still exists at the next inspection, the owner is fined retroactively, $100 a day for nuisance and $200 a day if it’s a zoning violation until the property is brought into compliance, according to Talbert.

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