ROCKINGHAM — A property long plagued with illegal activity in East Rockingham was declared a nuisance by a judge late last month.
Resident Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell on Feb. 24 signed a consent judgment for a Chapter 19 Nuisance Abatement action against the property owner of 130 South Street, according to a press release issued Thursday by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
“This address has been a problem for years, causing the community to live in fear and constantly draining emergency services and law enforcement resources,” Richmond County Sheriff Mark Gulledge said in the release. “This remedy is a result of an outstanding investigation between Richmond County officials and members of the ALE Nuisance Abatement Team, we hope to build on this and address other such needs throughout the county.”
Chapter 19 of the North Carolina General Statutes defines nuisance properties as those used for prostitution, gambling, possession or sale of controlled substances, illegal alcohol, or obscene or lewd material.
Properties are also considered a nuisance if they constitute a “breach of the peace” through repeated acts.
“The nuisance abatement law provides a solution to problem locations that strain law enforcement resources and reduce the quality of life for others,” said Scottie Shoaf, assistant special agent in charge of the Nuisance Abatement Team. “We are glad to work with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to bring a permanent resolution to this problem and embrace the positive changes this judgment will facilitate in the community.”
According to the release, the terms of the judgment relinquished the deed to the county for demolition and stated that it may never again be used for illegal activity. The property must be vacated by May 3.
“I appreciate the cooperation from the property owner as we worked to solve this problem and hope this successful resolution will ensure the community returns to a more peaceful life”, said Gulledge.