House may be demolished

Published 7:50 pm Thursday, March 5, 2015

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, will consider authorizing the demolition of the house at 309 W. Fifth St.

City officials, including senior building inspector Allen Pittman and John Rodman, the city’s director of community and cultural resources, consider the building unsafe. They recommend the city award the contract to demolish the building, if it is condemned, to Dudley Landscaping, which submitted the low bid of  $5,200 to tear down the building.

Other bids were made by St. Clair Trucking ($6,000) and Tyler Williams ($7,200).

The circa 1930 house, according to a city document, does not meet minimum standards of maintenance, sanitation and safety. The city contends the owner(s) of the building received a reasonable opportunity to bring the building into compliance with minimum housing and building standards.

A complaint about the building was made May 27, 2009. A hearing on the matter was conducted Dec. 19, 2014, with the order to demolish the building issued that same day. The time period allowed for responding to the order expired Feb. 17.

If the building is demolished, the city will sell usable materials from the building. Any expenses incurred by the city related to demolishing the building will be a lien against the property on which the building sat, according to the city document.

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.

The city has condemned and demolished several buildings in recent years. Efforts to save and restore some of those buildings have met with mixed results. A house on Water Street was condemned, but the city, after a public outcry, rescinded that condemnation so it could be restored and renovated. The house behind Tattoo Rich was demolished after attempts to save it failed.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.



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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