A Long County woman who was cited, fined and jailed for not bringing her Wilkerson Road home into compliance with the county’s zoning requirements went before the Long County Commission on Tuesday.
Long County Code Enforcement Office Steve Atkins said Kathy Knott violated the county’s code requirements for keeping up and maintaining her property.
At the end of the January meeting, as commissioners prepared to go into executive session, Knott asked to speak about her home being cited. Before allowing her to comment, Commission Chairman Bobby Walker advised Knott that she might not want to bring up the matter in a public meeting because she had litigation pending.
Knott insisted she needed to address the commission. She said the commission and Atkins treated her unfairly when she was cited, fined $500 and jailed. She said she has obtained an attorney and accused the county of not working with her in the past. Consequently, Knott said, the county’s actions hurt the two businesses she runs from her home. She also said she now has to go out of town to help care for her sister, who has breast cancer. Knott said she needs the commissioners to assure her that no additional action will be taken on the matter until she returns from her trip.
Walker replied that the county has worked with Knott in the past and makes a point of doing so when it comes to matters such as family illness. However, since Knott’s case is engaged in legal proceedings, the county does not have total control over the matter.
After the meeting, Walker said the commission and the code-enforcement office gave Knott approximately three years to clean up her residence and bring it into compliance with the county’s code, but it still has not been corrected. He also said the county told Knott that arrangements had been made with a contractor to clean up her lot — at no cost to her — but she refused to cooperate.
Walker said the commission will work with Knott as she deals with her sister’s illness and will take no action until she returns.
Atkins said that since he was hired as the county’s code-enforcement office in January 2012, he has been working with Knott on bringing her property into compliance. He said that Knott’s neighbors complained about unsanitary conditions and, due to the condition of Knott’s property, additional development in that area has been halted. The matter did go before the probate court, and a judge reviewed the code requirements and looked at the condition of the property before fining Knott $500 and sentencing her to the five days in jail, Atkins said.
Efforts to reach Knott by phone for additional comments were unsuccessful.
More details about Tuesday’s commission meeting will be provided in Sunday’s Courier.