In our little Town of Carthage, there is leadership by nature of our Town’s Board of Commissioners and Mayor, a Town Manager, our Town Clerk and folks in varied additional offices.
These folks work tirelessly to aid our Town’s continued growth. Ordinances and Rules or Laws have been identified within our community. In the Historic District Ordinances and Rules are a wee bit different from Downtown Business Corridor and apply to the nature of the infrastructure.
What happens in a such as Carthage when a property owner deems themselves above the Town Ordinances, Rules, and/or Law?
Well, to my knowledge thus far, absolutely nothing.
In the example of a property owner breaking Town Ordinances, Rules and/or the Law as a heir newly provided oversight of an estate and business making the individual wealthier than the average Jane or Joe Citizen – the act of noncompliance and total disregard is thus far inconsequential. Instead of enforcement levied regarding infractions – as it is with Average Citizens (you know the modest income nobodies), the heirs of a millionaire fortune are enabled to ignore the Town and its Citizens – while suggesting where permits are required they aren’t obliged to follow them as they do whatever they desire with “no” consequences other than a few telephone calls.
Where the Town Manager gains reassurance “eventually” (while still breaking Ordinances, not permitting and having workers who are not licensed or bonded, and continuing work cited as wrongful) “We’ll bring the property into compliance.”
This response is conveyed to Citizens as “an issue resolved,” by the Town Manager who appears negligent in the Town’s Management and if this is the response to a complainant when someone is egregiously violating Ordinance and Code and not gaining permits – there is a problem Houston.
So, what is going on?
Presently, in the Historic District of Carthage North Carolina, a plot of land aligning McReynolds Street, the main thoroughfare within the Historic District, is owned by children of a man who made his fortune through the business acumen of paving. The father passed in 2018, followed by the mother in 2019. God rest their souls.
The son, their heir, was given steed over their private home and adjoining property within the Historic District. Of course, the son lives in the more pristine golf community of Pinehurst about fifteen (15) miles away. So, his clear-cutting, and building without permit, and without considering Town Ordinance, Rules and/or the Law is ineffectual in his life because he doesn’t experience the water main being severed by him and his father’s prior workers (by not following Ordinances and the Town’s markings forced on him, rather than requested prior to any installations and/or ground-breaking).
First, 100% deforestation of the children’s’ father’s and mother’s property, which remained virtually untouched for over fifty-years. In allowing the land to “breath” as the son put it, clear-cutting began with a small section of a few trees, to an entire stretch, to the entirety of the property. Of course, many citizens were upset. The old saying, “His father is probably rolling over in his grave,” applies here. However, it is an owner’s prerogative to clear forestation off their property. There are no Ordinances against this practice identified by the Town for the Historic District.
Lumberman hauled away the trees and debris, which were probably sold for value. This is a common theme in Central North Carolina – when the elders pass away – the children clear cut the land, sell the lumber to make a quick return on the property, and while often an eyesore – it is within their right to do so. This is typically seen on country roads – not in the center of the Historic District – but appears to be the norm here after moms and pops die to collect lumber monies, which I will not voice an opinion regarding. However, I do believe in some clear-cutting to give a property room for use rather than it all being forestation necessarily.
Second, the property’s planned construction – evident by markings and placement of markers – features no permits thus far and the Town, seemingly beholding to the family for paving contracts of many years, only advise to gain reassurance, then wait for the “potential” of compliant behavior, which is a pipe dream as there will be no intent to adjust unpermitted work and/or against Ordinance work post-haste because enforcement is obviously not a concern – so the “When we have to do so” just won’t ever happen.
Third, fence has been being installed, without permit and against Ordinance. The fence runs alongside McReynolds Street where Ordinances clearly identify the permitted use of fencing, which the fence is non-compliant regarding.
Fourth, when the Town Clerk sent out a member of their team to the property where the son was busily having fence installed by his father’s former workers – the fence that is against Ordinance – the son was instructed to go to the Town Office and get a permit, which, of course, he refused and continues to, refuse to do. The Town did have the cable, electric company, and water company mark where their lines are and then the heir managing his millionaire father’s estate cut the water line anyhow. Lord only knows what he’ll cut next.
Fifth, when the Town marked the property, after arriving on the scene and notating no permits were gotten and that the fence was / is against Ordinance aligning McReynolds Street – the son continued the build of fence without permits and against Ordinance and then cut the Historic District water main, which the Town had to have repaired and at expense to citizens – thank you for that wealthy son of a former neighbor.
Sixth, when the Mayor, Commissioners, and others were alerted the ongoing installation is a) against Ordinance, b) hasn’t been permitted, c) resulted in cutting of the water main – the Town’s Manager contacted the son’s sister – because the son refuses to address any of the Town’s management as he believes (from his own conversation) they are just ineffectual and don’t really matter very much. The sister “reassured” the Town Manager when her brother finishes installing unpermitted and outside of Ordinance fencing – they will then remove the fence that is against Ordinance and “bring it to compliance when a time arises they need to do so” while continuing to install against Ordinance without permits after cutting the water main.
Seventh, when the son is addressed by anyone regarding the debacle, he suggests he has to keep neighbors off the land and needs a high retaining fence against Ordinance – when until the neighbors stated they won’t sell their property to the millionaire’s heir – who stated he wanted to buy their land because he had plans for it – the heir was friendly and conversant with same.
Because neighbors said, “No we aren’t selling,” after fencing was already being installed on Pinecrest Street – suddenly the heir had a “grave concern” for interlopers over what is virtually a big piece of cleared land without buildings. The adjoining neighbor’s property the father’s heir is “concerned to protect from” is where fencing has not to date been placed. I don’t know about you – but if “I” were concerned about neighbors and had to install high-rise fencing to ensure my cleared land was not encroached on – I’d place fence bordering the neighbor I was concerned about first (not last). Wouldn’t you?
The neighbors since the son’s parents passed away, have not been on the heir’s land; however, the parents permitted Town of Carthage Citizens to hold yard sales and walk their dogs there without issue for many, many, years – currently – it is all pre-foundation dirt – there is no reason to go onto their property – it is a mess – no one would desire to.
Eighth, after refusing to engage one of the Town’s Commissioners, the sister of the son answered the Town Clerk, “We’ll remove the fence and reinstall it to compliance when the need arises.” This is after being told of need to permit and need to be in compliance with Ordinances and that fence (at six foot high) alongside the main thoroughfare in the Historic District not meeting Historic District Ordinance for fencing, which has to be either three (3) feet for closed fence and only up to five (5) feet for open fence as well as thirty (30) feet from the road – all of these elements are not adhered to.
The Town is biting the bullet because the wealthy family just blew off the Town, the Townspeople, Ordinances and Permits and the Town won’t enforce them – it appears they are afraid to do so.
Ninth, when the Town went to the property and shared with workman Ordinance and expressed permits were required – the new owners of the parent’s lifelong accomplishment totally blew off the Town Clerk and everyone else associated in the Town’s Offices as ineffectual and then chided the neighbor’s by taunting them while yelling and cursing in an aberrant manner, probably having been informed they’d complained for the lack of adherence to Ordinance, the lack of permits and the water main being cut.
Tenth, after the Town Clerk and Town Manager contacted, again the sister of the son (who won’t engage the Town while continuing builds without permits against Ordinance) complaints were lodged to the Mayor, Commissioners, Town and Police Department. The sister was told to have the brother of the original owners to go in and get a permit.
Instead, the son, and brother of the sister, cut the water main proceeding with construction after the Town had made markings for cable, electric and water – ignoring same and costing the Town and its Citizens for unnecessary water loss and reparation of water pipes through the Historic District, and, of course, leaving the folks living in the Historic District without water for the majority of the day.
This was the day the cajoling and demeaning behavior by the heir occurred as he taunted the neighbors who wouldn’t sell him their property.
Does a complaint help?
It appears a complaint does not help. If anything, a complaint is considered the inappropriate matter because the issue has to be addressed and no one wants to force the millionaire’s heirs to be compliant in the Town of Carthage, NC.
In fact, after the Town Manager received complaints he called the sister – because the brother won’t address him – and was “reassured” again (while they continue to install and build without permits and against Ordinance) that the property will be brought into compliance once they finish installing the fencing that is not compliant and the Town Manager wrote to the complainant he had basically resolved the matter by gaining the reassurance while permitting and Ordinance continues to be ignored as building continues, that they promise to become compliant in the future.
Is there a positive outcome?
Currently, it appears that permits, and Ordinances, in the Town of Carthage do not matter. That if a building, or residential home, owner begin work on a project and permits and/or Ordinances are identified as having to be entered and followed – citizens (all things being equal) can just “reassure” the Town they’ll bring their situation into compliance when the need arises – noting enforcement won’t happen or it won’t happen for the wealthy citizens – so it should be inconsequential for all citizens as well.
This could be a positive outcome, but personally, I believe, it is a potential nightmare.
What about enforcement?
Thus far it appears – enforcement is not a consideration by the Town for the wealthiest families. It has been a consideration for the average citizen in the past; however, with this example to use in any attempted enforcement action, it would seem arguable citizens don’t need to comply with Ordinance and/or gain permits because one of the largest land shares in the Historic District doesn’t fall subject to the Town’s Ordinances, Rules, and/or Laws nor require permits to conduct whatever building they see to undertake in the Historic District.
In fact, it is obvious construction is taking place next due to the foundation leveling of the cleared land. Of course, the Town has no idea what, when, why or how just as with the fencing that is against Ordinance and without permits costing citizens through cutting of the water main without apology of any sort for putting all the Historic District Citizens out of water for a day.
The dream . . .
Well, the good news is, the Town Manager’s permission to allow the wealthy family to continue their construction without permits, against Ordinance, demonstrates all Citizens need to worry less about permits and Ordinances. We can just install six (6) foot high fences alongside both sides of McReynolds in front of all the historic homes and though it will resemble city project fencing – it is not aligning to Ordinance but if we reassure – we are fine.
A number of us have previously took Ordinances, Rules and Law with permits seriously in the past. However, now, it appears, these are inconsequential and it just requires reassuring the Town that they need not worry while we continue doing whatever we like.
Reality . . .
Average Citizen Jane and Joe have routinely been held accountable to permits and Ordinances, Rules and the Law.
The wealthy family gets to do whatever they like without repercussions while touting reassurances and continuing to build without permits and against Ordinance, Rules and the Law and with no ascription to the look and feel of the Historic District – while cutting the water main and costing the Town and its Citizens and without even an apology – rather distasteful behavior.
Equality . . .
Non-existent in the Town of Carthage, County of Moore, Central North Carolina – at least for “now.” If you are wealthy – you do as you please and laugh at the rest of the Townies; basically this is the state of affairs in the Historic District on 26 February 2020.