Council condemns buildings

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The City Council, during its meeting Monday, condemned two structures as unsafe and awarded contracts to demolish them.
The council awarded a $4,950 contract to T.J.’s Marine to demolish the building at 107 E. Eighth St. It also awarded an $8,400 contract to St. Clair Trucking to demolish the building at 312 E. Water St.
Liens covering the cost of the demolitions will be placed against the properties, giving the city an avenue to recoup the demolition costs.
The owners of the buildings were notified to remedy the buildings’ defective conditions but did not do so. Their inaction resulted in the condemnations and orders for demolition.
In a related matter, the council rejected a $110 bid for the lot at 507 W. Second St.
In July, the council approved a $14,700 contract to demolish that house. That decision came after the city tried not once, but twice, to sell the house to an entity that would restore it.
In early 2011, in an effort to save the house, the City Council voted to sell that house to Reilly Software for $3,500. Reilly Software intended to restore and renovate the house. Then, the dismal economy caught up with the company. Because Reilly Software could not afford to buy the house, the city was forced to once again seek a buyer for the house by way of the upset bid process. That did not work out, either.
The city acquired the property through its demolition-by-neglect ordinance. The city notified the property owner the property needed repairs to keep it from further deteriorating. The property owner declined to make the repairs. Again, the city notified the owner that repairs were needed and that the city, under the ordinance, could pay for repairs to the property and place a lien against it to recoup the city’s costs to repair it.
The owner decided it was not worth it to him to repair the property, so he opted to give it to the city.
The demolition-by-neglect ordinance is used by the city to keep historically and/or architecturally significant properties from deteriorating to the point they cannot be saved by rehabilitation measures.
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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