Dunbar City Council set to discuss vacant housing problem

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DUNBAR, WV (WOWK) – Following complaints of abandoned homes in the town of Dunbar, a new bill is being proposed to hopefully discourage this trend.

On Friday afternoon, a house along West Virginia Avenue in Dunbar quickly caught fire. Neighbors said the house had been vacant for nearly two years, but recently noticed people “squatting” there.

Members of Dunbar Town Council say they are well aware of this problem.

“We have our share of backpackers getting into it and that’s probably what happened here. I wouldn’t say that for sure, but most likely,” Dunbar Third Ward Councilor Greg Wolfe remarked.

Greg Wolfe, Dunbar Third Ward Alderman and City Code Enforcement Officer, says they are working to resolve this issue.

An ordinance added to Monday’s agenda says that — if passed — the city could impose harsher penalties on owners who abandon properties, causing them to be classified as a “nuisance.”

“We will send a letter within thirty days to the landlord and tenant stating that this house has been deemed a nuisance and if the police are called back, it could potentially be a thousand dollar fine,” Wolfe says.

Neighbors and other city officials say they began noticing the crackdown on vacant homes after current mayor Scott Elliott was elected in 2021. Many in the area say they think this step could be the solution to a growing problem.

This is a developing story, and we will continue to update it on WOWKTV.comthe WOWK News App 13and on 13 News on air.

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