01/26/06 — City gives more time for repairs to house

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City gives more time for repairs to house

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 26, 2006 1:53 PM

City officials said Willie Worrells is doing the best he can to bring his dilapidated home up to code -- new wood, fixtures and windows show progress.

Monday, at their final meeting of the month, Goldsboro City Council members rewarded his efforts, holding off the condemnation of 506 S. Slocumb St. for six months.

At their Dec. 19 meeting, councilmen viewed photographs and heard from inspectors concerning the home, one of among more than 70 currently on the county's target list. Problems with the house included water damage, rotten wood siding and holes around the exterior.

Goldsboro's Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra said currently, about 20 houses are slated for condemnation. By the end of the month, dozens more will be added to that total, he said.

City Council members have vowed to clean up dilapidated properties in the city and to issue demolition orders if the improvements are not made.

Worrells came forward to plead his case in December. He said he was living in the house and doing as much as he could with his limited funds to bring it up to code.

"If you give me a few more months, I can get it done," he said at the December meeting.

After hearing from the property owner, the council decided to defer action until Monday's meeting. Officials also informed Worrells that the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation (DGDC) has funds available for rehabilitation projects if the owner meets a particular set of criteria.

However, Monday, council members learned Worrells did not qualify for assistance from the DGDC.

Councilman Chuck Allen said it was clear Worrells has made an effort to bring the house up to minimum housing standards, even if he didn't have the resources to do the job as quickly as officials would like.

And so, based on that effort, he recommended that an extension be given on the condition that city inspectors look in on progress made at the house each month.

"The gentleman has done a lot of work on this," Allen said. "There's a lot of new wood, a lot of new fixtures, windows and things. He's made a real attempt, and it's not an eyesore from the street. I think we should give him more time."

The other councilmen agreed, granting Worrells six months to fix the problems. Generally, councilmen said they will grant extensions to property owners who show concern and request more time.