Inquirer: Reader would like city to remove 'dilapidated' house

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 18, 2013 

MIKE OWEN mowen@ledger-enquirer.com A Concerned Reader is tired of having to look at this dilapidated house.

It's one of those houses I've ridden past often but never noticed, which is kind of odd when you consider this aspect of my job. Perhaps it's because there are so few houses on this stretch of this road.

Anyway, the house at 5327 Miller Road is a sight. Concerned Reader Sandy called me about it, and she says she's sick and tired of having to drive by the vacant, overgrown, decaying building every day. Sandy apparently pays more attention than I do.

The two-story house has a brick façade on the first floor and a lap-board on the second, which is a faded blue with paint that's gone chalky. Worse, the fascia boards on the eaves are rotting in places, which can lead to internal damage when the weather and varmints get in.

"No one has lived in it for some time," Sandy said. "It has broken windows and is just dilapidated. I wish the city would tear it down."

Well, let's see about that. I reported the house to Greg Coates, the director of Inspections and Codes for the city. The routine is he sends an inspector out to the property and that person assesses what it would take to bring the house up to code and hence inhabitable.

If the projected cost is more than half the value of the property, it qualifies for the Big Red D, demolition.

The property's fair market value, according to city records, is about $50,000, and I'm not sure $25,000 would fix this place.

But I'm not a trained, licensed property inspector.

Coates said he'll send an inspector out to look it over. Even if it's not (yet) a candidate for demolition, there may be some property maintenance issues that the owner needs to address. If that's the case, Coates' department sends them an official notice to get his act together.

One possible remedy would be if the Baptist church next door might want to buy it, though probably not as a parsonage, if that's the proper term for a Baptist preacher's house. I'm an Episcopalian. We, the Catholics -- and possibly other persons of collar -- call it a rectory.

Anyway, there is Inquirer precedent for such a faith-based remedy like that. Remember the burned out house on Macon Road that was resolved when the church next door bought the property?

In the meantime, I'll also report the house to Special Enforcement because even if it doesn't need demolishing, it needs the yard-high weeds whacked.

Update

Speaking of whacking weeds (this is what Professional Writers call a segue) you no doubt recall last week's update about the weedy sidewalk on Primrose Road near Gentian Elementary School. The city crew apparently ran out of daylight before it could finish the job because the good job of clearing it had done halted abruptly, leaving the sidewalk almost blocked in one spot.

But the crew came back and finished up and all the little Gentian Chargers are once again safe on the sidewalk.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at mowen@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8570.

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