There's a house on Tip Top Drive in east Columbus that has a big red D on the front door and a big wrecking company dumpster in the driveway. Nothing out of the ordinary there.
But according to Concerned Reader Betty, it's been that way since January or February, which is kind of strange. As we've learned in this line of work, it takes a while for the condemnation and demolition process to work. But after the red D is applied, it usually doesn't take anywhere near that long.
So I called Fred Cobb, assistant director for inspections and codes, and asked him what his department knows about the property. After some investigation, he explained:
In order to condemn a house, the city inspects it and if they find it to be dilapidated, they send a certified letter to the property owner. He or she then has 45 days to appear in the city manager's office for a hearing to explain why the house is in such bad shape and what they plan to do about it.
If the owner doesn't appear in that time frame, the city slaps the red D on it and starts the process of getting Columbus Council to pay to have it knocked down.
What happened on Tip Top Drive was that the owner didn't appear in the 45-day window, so the red D was applied. But he subsequently came to the city and said he wants to restore the property.
"He's pulled building and electrical permits to start doing the work," Cobb said. "But then the work stopped."
So now the city is working with the owner to see if he still wants to fix the property. Otherwise, it's toast.
"We want to work with the homeowner," Cobb said. "We don't want to incur the cost of demolition to the taxpayer and then put a lien on the property unless we have no choice."
So the bottom line, Betty, is that the property up the street from you is going to get either fixed up or torn down.
Oh, and if you're wondering why there's a Reaves Wrecking dumpster in the driveway, the owner put it there for construction debris, Cobb explained.
Across town at 2300 Third Ave., the remains of the house certainly qualified for the wrecking ball, as we learned last week. And, while the process sometimes takes a while before the wreckers start wrecking, that wasn't the case with this burned-out old relic.
It's already been torn down and hauled away.
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