LaFayette council talks plans for dilapidated houses and structures

Published 10:48 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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LaFayette’s city council addressed a growing concern over dilapidated and abandoned structures around the city during the council meeting on Monday night. In all, Code Enforcement Officer Kim Langley presented 17 homes that had either fallen into disrepair, burned down or were abandoned and no longer in livable condition.

Langley and Street and Sanitation Superintendent George Green reached out to each owner with a list of code violations. Langley said that in his year as the code enforcement officer, many of the houses on the list have been brought before the council and the owners have taken no action.

Langley asked the council to consider a motion to take action and tear down the structures whose owners have not responded.

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“With all due respect if we continue to let these houses sit there, we’re only driving down property values and pushing the city in a hole,” Langley said.

For the first time in months, the council meeting had a packed house full of owners who received letters in the mail about their unsafe structures.

Many of the owners came to the podium to state their intentions with the structures.

Most of them said they didn’t understand the jargon of the code enforcement citations.

Langley responded by saying that he would sit down with anyone who called to talk them through what needed to be done to their property. But he said no one had reached out to him after receiving their letters.

Another consideration on the council side is the cost of tearing down a structure.

For the city department to devote manhours and equipment, Green said the minimum cost to the city is about $4,000 to $5,000.

Though the city would bill the property owner, Council member David Ennis said he wants to avoid incurring the cost that they may not receive back.

“We need to come up with an estimate of what each one of them is going to cost and let them know what they’re looking at because they will be expected to pay it,” Ennis said. “… We owe it to them and we owe it to ourselves.”

After discussion with Ennis, Councilmember Terry Mangram and City Attorney Mac Tucker, the council voted to table all 17 unsafe structures for 90 days. During the 90 days, the city will need to propose and notify property owners of an estimated cost for tearing down the homes.

Also, in that time, the property owners will need to present a plan of action and a timeline for getting their home up to code.

A full list of the dilapidated properties and property owners is below:

4 Roland & Robert Osborn, 12 6th Avenue N.W.

4 Veronda Sheppard, 18 5th Avenue N.W.

4 Catherine Maddix, 206 5th Avenue N.W.

4 Benny Haynes & Jon Adams, 114 5th Avenue N. W

4 Williams & Shelia Davenport, 3rd Avenue N.W. 

4 Willie R. Wilson, 333 3rd Avenue N.E. 

4 Michael C. Ford & Victoria Langley, 105 2nd Street N.E.

4 Johnny Askew, Vera Tyler & June Baker, 109 3rd Street N.E.

4 Craig Ledyard & Gwenette Holloway, 138 7th Street N.E.

4 Burke & Heidi Carroll, 115 Avenue A S.E.

4 Charles Brock Etal Faye O. Brock, 7th Avenue SE & 3rd Place S.E.

4 Ernest Woody, 1st Street S.E.

4 Peter A. Webb & Evelyn Webb, 411 1st Place S.W.

4 Frank & Myrtice Allen, 411 LaFayette St. S.

4 Andrew & Dwayne Williams, 7th Place S.E.

4 Lionel & Nancy Pittman, 6th Avenue S.E

4 James E. Abney,116 LaFayette St. S.