South Congaree Town Council denies landlord’s appeal; gives tenants more time to leave

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Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 8:46 PM EDT
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SOUTH CONGAREE, S.C. (WIS) - In a unanimous 5-0 vote, the South Congaree Town Council voted to deny an appeal from a scrutinized landlord to have her business licenses reinstated.

In doing so, the council triggered an ordinance-mandated eviction process for the residents of the four impacted parks.

That includes the parks at Sana Circle, Cactus Court, Genesis Circle, and Ciera Circle. However, the council also voted to delay that process.

Town ordinances require the landlord to notify all residents they have to leave the property 30 days after the appeal hearing. However, the council voted to delay the enforcement of that ordinance until Jan. 31, 2023.

That means residents of the parks will have to leave by March 2, 2023.

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Naomi Halter owns the parks and has faced state and local scrutiny for some of the conditions at her properties. A WIS investigation found roaches, holes, and leaking wastewater at some of the properties.

Some repairs to the leaking wastewater have since been made.

Halter was not present for the appeal hearing, but her attorney Bryn Sarvis gave a speech to the council on her behalf.

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Sarvis argued Halter has provided low-income housing to the minority population, has struggled to find staff to get the necessary work done, and lost revenue due to the eviction moratorium during the pandemic.

Sgt. Chad Walker for the South Congaree Police Department responded, explaining Halter’s properties have been a drain on police resources and she continues having properties which are out of compliance.

Police Chief Josh Shumpert told the council their decision will shape a precedent for landlords for moving forward.

Sarvis estimated that 40 families were impacted. Tenant Tonia Jackson said she doesn’t know where she will go, and expressed the time extension still isn’t enough.

“Times goes fast. Time is moving extremely fast and that’s still not enough time. Because you still got to find a place to live, you’ve got to get money together, you’ve got to take off work. You’ve got to do a lot of things in order to make this happen in your favor,” she said.

She said credit is a barrier for her. Sarvis declined to comment in the aftermath of the meeting.

South Congaree Mayor Cindy Campbell, a proponent of accountability for Halter and the extended transition process, said she would release a statement on Wednesday.

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