Inquirer: Boarded-up building may be ugly, but it might be legal

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 3, 2013 

A Concerned Capitalist is worried about small businesses in a stretch of Hamilton Road who have to do business with a decrepit, boarded-up building in their midst.

"Mr. Owen, there is a vacant building at 4314 Hamilton Road that is in very, very bad shape," said the anonymous woman. "The doors and windows are boarded up, but the door used to be open so street people could go in there. In the back, there's a falling-down staircase.

"There are four people trying to do business in that area, and there's this vacant building in the middle of them. I wish you would go by and look at it, because the holidays are coming up and those other people are trying to do business."

I am nothing if not a small business supporter. So I drove by the building, front back and sides, and I have to agree with the caller. It's an eyesore.

The windows are boarded up, but the once-open front door is padlocked. It's worse in the rear, where what appears to be an addition is loosely covered with plywood and there is damage to the lap siding. And I wouldn't walk up those steps to that landing on a bet.

So, Concerned Capitalist, I will call Greg Coates in the Inspection and Codes Department, and see if he will send a building inspector out to look at it.

But keep something in mind. The city doesn't cite or condemn buildings just because they're ugly. If they did, some architects would go out of business. The buildings must be deemed either unsafe or dilapidated to the point that it would cost more than half their assessed value to bring them back to code.

This particular property is assessed at $34,450, so if it could be brought back to code for less than $17,225, then it will survive. The city might cite the owner and tell him or her to make certain repairs, but I don't know if the rules are different for vacant commercial property.

Anyway. I'll contact Coates this week and let you know next Monday what's up.

But remember, ugly isn't illegal. If it were, I have some friends who would be felons.


Speaking of ugly. I direct your attention back to the property at Springer Street and 15th Avenue which I wrote about a few weeks back. Last week, I updated to say that while the property looked worse than it had when I first wrote about it, it looked as if some work was under way to remedy the mess.

At the time, there were two large trash piles half in the yard and half in the road. Some of the refuse included an old broken toilet and the remnants of a children's swimming pool.

Well this week, I'm glad to report that all the garbage has been hauled away. No old carpet or toilets or trash spilling out into the road.

Granted the place still isn't going to make it onto the Midtown Tour of Homes, but at least it appears to be in compliance with city ordinances.

More Ledger-Inquirer:

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Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or

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