CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Charles Town Mayor Randolph Hilton turned his focus Monday night toward dilapidated and abandoned buildings in town, saying the deteriorating structures "undermine the will of other people who want to take care of town."
Hilton said the buildings are eyesores, can create health hazards and bring down property values.
During a town meeting at the Jefferson County Courthouse, Hilton led a public discussion on how to deal with the problem.
Possible solutions ranged from condemning buildings to giving tax breaks to owners who want to fix up their properties.
Ellen May, who has been involved in revitalization efforts downtown and has worked as a merchant, said the city needs to find ways to condemn dilapidated buildings and take ownership of them. Then the buildings can be sold at public auction, she said.
May said taking over the buildings is better than the property owners "thumbing their nose at all the zoning ordinances you have."