Nitro City leaders look to crackdown on property owners, landlords
NITRO, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Dreams of starting a family are on hold for Lauren and Damon Lawrence.
"I won't have children in the house that I'm at because of my neighbors," Lawrence said.
They say the house across the street from theirs on Dupont Ave. in Nitro is a haven for drugs and people who use them and despite countless arrests sometimes multiple times a day the problems continue.
"There's not good enough repercussions," Lawrence said.
City leaders agree and say this house is one of many problem spots.
"We've arrested one individual seventeen times out of the same house! it's just over and over and over again," Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt said.
It's why Casebolt wants to create serious penalties for landlords and property owners whose tenants are repeat offenders.
"They should hold some responsibility for it if they allow it to continue," he said.
Mayor Casebolt says work has started on an ordinance to curb the problem.
If it's approved by council members and two felony offenses happen at the same place the owner would face a $500 fine. Any offenses after that would each come with a fine of $1,000.
A similar idea is being proposed in Huntington.
Casebolt says he is hopeful the new law will be able to go into effect before the end of the month.
Officials in South Charletson say they hope to write a similar ordinance and leaders in Dunbar say they will be watching the results of the legislation closely to see if they would like to adopt something similar.