District 4 Councilwoman Cassandra Lee was concerned that people might be living in a storage building close to a house on Sommerville Avenue in her district.
Building inspector Renay Saint assured Lee the storage shed is compliant with city code.
“I went by and talked with the family,” Saint said. “I went through the unit. It is being used for storage. Nobody is living in it. If they are, they are sleeping on the floor. There is no power, no water in the building.”
Saint said the setback is within code on the front and side of the unit. “There’s no violation,” Saint said of the property at 411 Sommerville Ave. "No trespassing" signs are posted at the house, and the owner could not be reached for comment.
Lee said she is satisfied to hear nobody was living in the unit, but said the building must stay within the nuisance ordinance.
“There’s nobody living in it as far as we can tell,” she said. “There’s clothes hanging on it. It’s a storage building, not a clothes line. Is this something we’re going to allow? The people in my district are concerned about this. This kind of facility can bring down property values. It’ll be a domino effect, the value of the entire neighborhood comes down because of this one building.”
Saint said the property owner said he has several grandkids on the property and they play in and around the storage building.
Lee said the shed was placed on the property about two or three months ago.
About three years ago, she said, a similar structure was put up next to a house on Campbell Street. “I know people were living in that one, and I don’t want the same thing happening here. It was moved out a few months later,” she said.
“If Renay says it’s OK, then OK, but I think the council needs to revisit the ordinance,” she said. “I want to make sure whatever we have in place is tight and there will be penalties and this type of thing is removed from the property if these portable buildings are not in compliance.”