In June 2007 the Georgetown City Construction Board of Appeals ruled a dilapidated house at 1908 Front St. was unsafe and should be demolished.
The decision by the CBA was appealed by property owner Richard Izzard and in July 2009 the Circuit Court sided with the city on most matters but ordered the house could not be torn down until the city complied with its demolition procedures in the Code of Ordinances.
In April of this year, City Council gave Rick Martin of the Building and Planning Department permission to proceed with the demolition process having determined the city codes had been followed.
Last week, council approved a contract with 4 Seasons Site and Demo Inc. The company will do the job for $17,500.
The money is coming from the Building and Planning Department which has $75,000 allocated for “contract services.
Martin, at last week’s city council meeting, said the house must come down because it is a hazard to the residents in the neighborhood.
Since Izzard has not removed the house himself, the city if picking up the costs with no guarantee of being repaid.
Council Member Paige Sawyer said a lien needs to be placed on the property to help ensure taxpayers’ money will be reimbursed.
He said it is unfair to have taxpayers foot the bill for the improvement of a person’s property.
Council Member Rudolph Bradley said he would not support the proposal if it included a property lien.
“It is not their fault the property is in that shape,” Bradley said. He said years ago Izzard wanted to repair the structure but was not allowed to do so by the city.
“He did, in his own way, try to do something but past staff screwed it up,” Bradley added.
Sawyer said people have been complaining about the property for more than a decade.
Council Member Jeanette Ard said the city needs to set criteria to show when a lien can be placed on dilapidated property and when it cannot.
“Some slum lords in the city choose to let their property to get in disrepair” so the city will cover the demolition costs,” Ard said.
Mayor Jack Scoville said Tuesday he is unsure when the removal process will begin.
By Scott Harper