The only topic at a special Greenville City Council meeting last week was occupancy permits.
Approximately 25 persons attended the session including realtors and other property owners with rental property.
The council discussed occupancy permits a few years ago, but did not approve an ordinance. An occupancy permit ordinance, which could be adopted for rental property only or rental and home-occupied residences, allows a municipality to inspect the inside of a residence, when a new individual or family moves in, to make sure the residence is safe.
City Manager Dave Willey addressed the audience at the start, explaining the meeting was called mostly to listen. He said they didn’t have a recommendation on how to proceed.
Willey noted Highland and Carlyle are the counties around us that have started occupancy permit program most recently. Mulberry Grove has one and Belleville is the largest city in our area that has occupancy permits.
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The meeting lasted more than two and one-half hours. The majority of those attending indicated they were against occupancy permits.
Among the comments made were there needs to be less government regulation, property taxes are too high and the housing market in Greenville is depressed.
One of them asked why the subject came up again. Mayor Alan Gaffner said city officials have heard from tenants who have expressed fear that if they spoke up about conditions of their property that they would be evicted. Gaffner also said some personal property owners believe the condition of some rental properties is lowering property values. Safety is a third issue that was reflected in a recent letter. He specified the council did not initiate the discussion; residents have asked for it to be revisited.
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Willey reported that the day before the meeting, four letters were received, two from persons in favor, one against, and the other non-committal.
There was no discussion by the council about how to proceed with the issue. City Manager Willey said if anyone has a question or comment, they should contact a councilman or him.