Mooresville Mill Village
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Let's Go Greenways
The Mayberry Approach

Mayberry Code Enforcement

Have you heard of the “Mayberry Approach” to code enforcement? Those exact terms were to explain why, after a year and half of complaints, not a single citation had been given to stop blatant code violations reported by citizens in the Mooresville Mill Village. Apparently this “Mayberry Approach” is a semi-official line taken for enforcing code.

Mooresville’s zoning ordinance says that the town manager must give 15 days notice to anyone accumulates debris, junk, etc. which threatens the economic values of the neighborhood, otherwise the owner will have to pay the town for its removal. For junked cars, the owner has up to 30 days to remove the vehicle. As for weeds and loose trash laying around in the yard, the owner has to remove that within 24 hours.

By contrast the Mayberry Approach requires no real timeframe and virtually no accountability for anyone whose junk and trash bring down an entire neighborhood’s value. When a warning is finally issued, all the violator has to say is I’m working on it, but need more time. This “more time” can go on indefinitely, as is proved by some houses in the Mill Village. It is not clear when or by whom it was decided to enforce Mayberry’s code rather than Mooresville’s. But the Mayberry Approach makes a joke of Mooresville’s ordinances.

It is no wonder that so many Mill Village houses are in squalid condition. Many of these historic houses—some of the oldest homes in Mooresville—have fallen into an appalling state of disrepair and turning into unsanitary slums. The neighborhood remains prey to negligent, malicious and absentee landlords who reap the benefits of this “Mayberry Approach.” Broken windows, leaking roofs, and rotting siding are of no concern to the landlord, thanks to the Mayberry Approach. These landlords can allow their tenants to leave food, junked vehicles, old tires, household items, and general debris and trash in their front and back yards, since a fine is easily avoided under the Mayberry Approach.

The benefit of the Mayberry Approach is all for the landlord—not for the homeowner-taxpayers nor the town. While the Mayberry landlords pay little or no fee for violating town ordinances, they simultaneously keep property values very depressed compared to the Mooresville average, thereby avoiding contributing fairly to our tax base. Mooresville gains nothing from this approach.

Whether or not this town is concerned about preserving and protecting its heritage, it is time to stop the passive subsidies to negligent landlords. It is time to wake up from the Mayberry stupor. The town of Mooresville must put a stop to the “Mayberry Approach” and enforce its own Zoning Ordinance if they wish to improve the Mill Village and improve the tax base.

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Mooresville Mill Village Initiative
last updated March 8, 2008