Jackson judge to owner: Demolish Briarwood building or face jail time

Capital City’s code enforcement officers accelerating efforts to hold owners of dilapidated properties accountable
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 9:17 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - All around the Briarwood One building, signs of life can be found, from wood assembled for a makeshift campfire to shopping carts with stripped wires and clothing littering the nearby sidewalk.

Those signs of life aren’t what Jackson’s code enforcers nor elected officials want to see here, though.

Councilwoman Angelique Lee, who represents the ward where the Briarwood building sits, said holding owners accountable is an essential step in the process of bringing economic prosperity back to Jackson.

“My Briarwood building is at an entrance to a major thoroughfare that houses businesses, other professional service industries, and residential areas that I need to retain and keep safe from vagrants,” Lee said. “We look forward to more efforts with code enforcement throughout our ward to attract new businesses and keep existing businesses from leaving.”

Court documents show Municipal Judge Jeff Reynolds taking yet another building owner to task, saying in his order that Briarwood owner Mike Kohan must demolish the building within 30 days or face jail time.

“We’re glad that it’s being advertised and every time we get a lot of people to comply, before we even get to the court proceeding,” interim code enforcement manager Samantha Graves said.

Kohan hasn’t done that yet, but Studio 7′s owner was forced to comply last week after code violations at that extended stay facility caused the city to step in and take action.

“It is a serious issue that the city needs to confront, continues to confront. We’ve got to have the right rules in place, and we’ve got to enforce those rules,” said Jackson City Council President Ashby Foote.

Foote said he’s pleased with the work code enforcement is doing: handling more cases, handing out more violations, and working toward a more attractive Jackson.

“We have a team now that is really dedicated to trying to beautify Jackson,” Graves said.

Graves said they’ve doubled the number of code enforcement officers they once had, with six now on staff.

They’re also using high-tech means to try and locate owners who live out of state with software and public records searches.

For Graves, it’s personal, too.

She’s from the capital city and wants to see it thrive once again.

“I want to see people come back to Jackson because it has so much potential,” Graves said. “We’re trying to beautify as much as we can and try to get rid of a lot of blight to draw people [and] investors back here to Jackson.”

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.