SNEEDVILLE — A dilapidated mobile home in Sneedville that Sheriff Brad Brewer said is currently being used sporadically as a “drug house” needs to be torn down.
At the Feb. 10, 2020 meeting of the Hancock Co. Commission, Brewer asked if the board would be OK with him using his work crew to demolish the trailer.
The sheriff said he often gets complaints about the structure and that it is in such bad shape that there’s no way to move it without it falling apart.
“The people who supposedly own it will not claim it, and people in the community want something done,” he said. “If I can determine who the rightful owner is, or get it declared abandoned, how do you feel about having my work crew take it apart, put the metal in the recycle bin, and haul the rest of it to the landfill?”
The sheriff said the mobile home is on private property and a title search would need to be conducted to see if there is a valid owner to the trailer and to then have that signed over to the county.
Otherwise, Mayor Harrison said, the Sneedville BMA would have to declare it abandoned, as a public safety hazard, and probably go through condemnation proceedings.
“I can promise you, you’re not going to pull it out of there,” Brewer said. “The floor is rotten. It would fall apart if you tried to move it.”
Someone commented that the land is believed to be owned by a person who lives in Erwin, but that the person who actually moved the trailer to the site years ago is now deceased.
According to the Eagle’s correspondent who covers Sneedville BMA meetings, the matter was mentioned at the board’s Feb. 11 meeting but no formal action was taken because the consensus was that the BMA did not think it was up to the town to give permission to tear down the structure since it is on private property, and that the property owner would need to make a request to have it removed.
It was unclear at presstime if the Town of Sneedville has an ordinance that governs how to deal with nuisance or hazardous properties.
One commissioner suggested, and others were in agreement, that if the project could eventually be done, Brewer could sell the scrap metal salvaged from the operation and use the proceeds to have a protective “cage” built for the van that is used to transport prisoners to and from court appearances.