HED:Church Street eyesore may soon be torn down

CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories

AUTHOR: MOULDE

HED:Church Street eyesore may soon be torn down

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

A rundown North Church Street triplex that has been the focus of neighborhood complaints may be torn down by mid-month, a Tupelo building official said Friday.

David Hammack, the city’s chief building inspector, said officials conducted a full inspection of the building at 446 N. Church St. on Thursday.

“That is the first time I’ve been in it, and it was bad,” Hammack said. “It’s basically unsalvageable.”

Hammack said he toured the building with owner Bruce Weatherly and pointed out defects. He said he recorded his oral findings and was transcribing them Friday.

When the transcription is completed, he will forward a copy to the owner and take steps toward demolishing the building.

“There’s no question in my mind … it probably was going to cost more to repair the house than it is assessed at (valued),” he said. “We’ll probably try to get this in his (the owner’s) hands the first of the week,” he said of the defect list.

Demolition process

Hammack said the city probably could obtain quotes for demolition by the end of next week. Barring an appeal to City Council or the courts, demolition could begin soon after, he said.

Hammack said Weatherly had produced a sales contract that indicated he would sell the structure to another party in mid-September. Initial indications were that the proposed new owner would demolish the building, Hammack said.

However, the city could act first and charge the new owner the cost of tearing the building down.

If the owner does not pay the city’s cost of demolition, the City Council would likely put a lien on the property and assess a 20 percent penalty.

On the other hand, if the city doesn’t act and the building changes hands, inspectors might have to repeat the notification and hearing process with a new owner before demolition could occur.

Complaints about the structure had been lodged by other residents in the neighborhood and parents whose children attend Church Street Elementary School, across the street from the triplex.

Building officials more than a month ago condemned the building and ordered it vacated. The last tenant was to leave this weekend, Hammack said.

Utilities to two of the three units have already been cut off and the meters removed. The third unit is scheduled to lose utility service Tuesday, Hammack said.

Weatherly could not be reached for comment Friday.