06/07/06 — Three buildings added to city's condemned list

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Three buildings added to city's condemned list

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 7, 2006 1:46 PM

Goldsboro City Council members condemned three dilapidated dwellings Monday at their first meeting of the month -- bringing the total for the year to 11.

Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra said the structures, located at 1001 N. John St., 1006 N. Center St., and 1008 N. Center St., have been deteriorating for some time now and that the property owners have not responded to letters from the city urging repairs be completed.

"We have attempted to work with the owners for their benefit and the city's," he said.

The house at 1001 N. John St., owned by Ethel Hamm White, of Greensboro, was "basically abandoned," Cianfarra said. Rotten wood siding and a deteriorating porch were among the most noticeable problems.

"This house is not feasible for repair," he said. "There has been no rehabilitative effort made."

Similar problems left the structure at 1006 N. Center St. below minimum housing standards. Among its problems were "mold, mildew, deterioration and rot," Cianfarra said. The dwelling, owned by Community Affordable Properties, also showed more than $200 in back taxes owed.

The last house on the city's docket Monday, located at 1008 N. Center St., was damaged by fire and contains asbestos. Cianfarra said other violations include a deteriorating porch, walls and ceilings.

The three condemnations represent a small fraction of the problem-houses in the city, Cianfarra said, adding from now until the end of the year, 103 more houses will have become eligible for demolition.

But if the city were to order condemnation and demolition of all the structures currently through phase three of minimum housing, the expense would be great, he said -- in dollars and time.

Demolishing a dwelling costs the city an average of $6,500 and includes asbestos removal, the actual demolition, administrative fees and clearing the lot of debris, he added. So to knock down the 103 that will become eligible over the next few months would cost close to $700,000 -- and that's a heavy burden on Goldsboro taxpayers.

"We don't want to tear all of them down because we don't want to waste the taxpayers money," Cianfarra said.

City Manager Joe Huffman agreed, adding lack of money is one reason many dilapidated structures have not yet come down. And that is one of the reasons the city has an interest in restoration and renovation of properties as opposed to demolition, he said.

"If you can get somebody to fix the problems and keep paying taxes on the property, you don't have spend taxpayers money to tear them down," Huffman said.