Clean up of disputed Lady's Island land hits snag

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Clean up of disputed Lady's Island land hits snag

Published Tuesday, February 14, 2012   |  452 Words  |  

Trash and debris remain on Lady's Island land owned by the Beaufort County School District, despite the district's attempt to clean it last weekend.

The district had planned to use county jail prisoners and donated trash receptacles to clean up the land on Alston Road that neighbors say is an eyesore.

The district doesn't have a clear title to the property, making it difficult to remove the three mobile homes encroaching on the land and get it cleaned, district operational services chief Phyllis White has said.

The county denied the use of inmates to clear the land because of the title issue, county deputy administrator Bryan Hill said.

"We cannot clean up private property," Hill said. "Once they determine if the title is clear and they own the property, we're more than happy to do what we stated we were going to do."

School district spokesman Jim Foster said the district received a letter in late January from the county code's enforcement office that the property was in violation of the trash and litter ordinance.

"We've received a letter from county codes enforcement asking that we clean it up, then another county office canceled the use of inmates because it wasn't clear we own it," Foster said.

Foster said the district wants to clean up the land in a cost-effective way. Paying a private contractor or having district employees do it would be expensive, he said.

The county wouldn't have charged the district for the inmates' work, Hill said.

School board member Bill Evans, who represents Lady's Island, said the district is investigating ways to sell the property.

"We don't have any intention of keeping it," he said. "We'd just as soon sell it."

The property was identified as underutilized in 2007, White has said. But it's not currently for sale because of the issues with the titles.

Evans said he spoke with residents near the property and they were disappointed it wasn't cleaned up as promised Saturday.

"I'm frustrated," said Terri Allgire, who lives nearby. "It's time for them to do something, so we don't have to keep going through this mess."

Both Foster and Evans said the district is working toward cleanup, but it's not clear when that will happen.

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