City orders homes bulldozed

The New Albany Board of Aldermen voted Monday to require the owners of three properties – 405 Broad Street, 410 North Street and 209 Highland Street – to bulldoze the structures or buildings at those locations.

The board has given those owners 60 days to demolish these structures.  If any one or all are not torn down, board members said, the city would bulldoze the structures at the property owners’ expense.
In addition, the city also voted to go ahead with plans to demolish a home located at 409 Broad Street, due to the fact that the property owner, Marshall Pedigo, could not be located.
“We have put an ad in the paper and I have sent a registered letter in an attempt to contact [Pedigo],” New Albany’s City Building/Zoning Inspector Mike Armstrong told the board.  He has not responded and the letter came back. The only address we have is this property and it has been abandoned for a long time.”
Because the owner did not come to the meeting to dispute the city’s order, the board voted to have the property torn down.  Armstrong told the board that he would have bids from demolition crews for their consideration at April’s meeting.
Regarding the home at 410 North Street, owner Thomas Stanford told the board that he had a potential buyer for the home, but that he would follow their direction.
“I do have someone who’s interested in the property,” Stanford said.  “But I told him I would not sell it to him if it has been condemned.”
Stanford had come before the board in January after receiving a certified letter stating that the property had been condemned.  At that time, he told the board that he wanted to restore it, if he was allowed to do so.

Armstrong told the board that the estimated costs to repair the home at 410 North Street would likely be at least $30,000 and that Stanford would have to hire a state licensed remodeler in order to do any repairs.
Ward One Alderman Jeff Olson recommended that the home be torn down.
“I just think it’s been too much time that it’s been in this condition,” Olson said.
Mark Stevens took issue with the condemning of his property at 209 Highland Street, stating that he had already begun to make repairs to the home.
“I went in and scraped it and painted it,” Stevens said.  “I’m ready to do something, but I was waiting for good weather.  It’s been a hard winter.”
Stevens went on to say that he hasn’t tried to rent it out to anyone for over a year because of the condition.
Armstrong told the board that, though Stevens had done some work, he had not followed the proper procedure outlined by the city ordinances.
“When a house is condemned, I send out a letter telling each owner that he or she has 60 days to either repair or demolish the building and clean the lot,” Armstrong said.  “But to do either one, the owner must pull permits with the city.  I could see where permits were pulled [to begin work].”
John Ellis, whose company E & E Enterprises is listed as the owner of 405 Broad Street, next to 409 Broad, took issue with the city’s demand that he take action while nothing had been done to the home next door.
Ellis said that, when he received his letter stating that his property had been condemned, he followed the instructions of boarding up the structure within five days.  He went on to say that his letter also stated that city would board up the structure at 409 Broad Street.
“You haven’t done what you said you were going to do,” Ellis told the board.  “I’m not anxious to go over there if the neighbors [409 Broad] won’t do anything.”
He requested that the board give him 30 days to get bids from contractors to start renovation.
Ward Two Alderman Johnny Anderson said that it would not be fair to let Ellis start renovation at this point, after requiring Stanford to demolish the home on his lot.
“We either let them both build up the homes or tear them both down,” Anderson said.
The board also voted to require Julius Morris to clean up his lot at 1117 Rosewood.  The property is filled with debris, including a partial roof of a house.
All owners have 60 days to clear their lots.  If they are not cleaned and the city has to take action, Armstrong said that the bill can be applied to the taxes on the property.
Anderson urged Armstrong to continue adding to his list of homes that should be considered for demolition throughout the city, as well as asking other board members to drive through their wards and identify such houses themselves.
“I would like to see us consider three or four houses for demolition at each monthly meeting so we can work on getting these properties cleaned up,” Anderson said.