08/18/05 — City enforcing 'demolition by neglect'

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City enforcing 'demolition by neglect'

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on August 18, 2005 1:52 PM

Some Goldsboro residents are receiving unwanted attention from the city because they ignored the peeling paint on their house or postponed roof repairs.

That's because the city's Inspection Department is now enforcing the "demolition by neglect" ordinance approved by the City Council last year.

The ordinance is aimed at preventing the deterioration of buildings in downtown Goldsboro and requires property owners to take steps to protect buildings from decay.

Ed Cianfarra, the city's chief building inspector, said his department has inspected over 458 pieces of property in the target area in the past eight months.

"It's basically in the downtown area," Cianfarra said. "That's the first area we're looking at, but we will be looking at other areas."

The ordinance addresses the problem in phases. The first has concentrated on the central business district, and the second will focus on buildings in the eastern and western sections of downtown.

Cianfarra said that an inspector is assigned to each section, and that the inspector does one or two of the inspections each day.

The inspectors are looking at the outside of the buildings for deteriorating walls, foundations, floors, roofs, beams and chimneys. They're also looking for deteriorating stairs, porches, handrails, fences, gates or garden walls.

In addition, the inspectors are looking for signs of ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs and foundations, leaking roofs, decayed brickwork and peeling paint.

If a property is found to be out of compliance, the city will send a letter asking the owner to make improvements to their building. If the property owner doesn't comply within an agreed upon time, a fine of up to $250 per day can be levied.

Cianfarra said that a lot of people had already come into compliance.

"One of the things that slowed us down a little was that the council amended the ordinance a few months ago," he said. "They added a section that said second story windows couldn't be boarded up."

Cianfarra said that when that part of the ordinance was changed, his inspectors had to re-inspect the properties.

"People who aren't in compliance will receive their second letter later this week," he said. "I expect to send out 30 this week."

After the second letter, the city will start to impose fines.

Some property owners are working well with the city, Cianfarra said.

For example, a new downtown business is working with the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation to get grants to fix the building up, he said.

"They have already begun painting the outside of the buildings, and are putting awnings out there," Cianfarra said.