City targets dilapidated, unsafe buildings

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 28, 2000

Staff Writer

Efforts to clean up Troy is resulting in some eyesores being destroyed.

Thursday afternoon, Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, Building Official Junior Register and City Planner Calvin Lott held a press conference to outline guidelines for demolishing dangerous and delapidated buildings.

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The Troy City Council adopted Article 2 of the Code of Alabama that outlines removing unsafe buildings.

"It was always a problem with us," Lunsford said of finding ways to clean up dangerous eyesores.

But, two years of work has paid off in giving the city authority to do something if the property owner won’t.

"We hope it will make a big dent in the eyesores," Lunsford said. "We are going to be very, very aggressive in pursuing this."

The first step in the process is determining whether a building is unsafe, followed by sending notification to the owner.

If the property owner does not respond to the letter or file a written appeal within 30 days upon notice, the city will demolish the building and assess the cost against the property. That money will be collected by the Pike County revenue commissioner the same as an ad valorem tax and will be remitted to the city. City officials will also post a notice on the structure within three days of the notice.

Filing a request for a hearing will result in the city holding off its actions until a determination by the city council states the building should be destroyed. If no appeal is filed, the council has to order the building official to remove the structure.

The building official will then take bids for the demolition and it will be awarded as required by state code.

"Our desire is to never put this into effect," Lunsford said, adding the city would prefer for the property owners to take care of the problem.

He said passage of the law has indeed resulted in some clean-up efforts by property owners. The city had an original list of 14 delapidated buildings and six property owners have cleared the land voluntarily.

"Responsibility has been forced on some owners," Lunsford said.

Register said the city currently has a list of eight eyesores. They include: 313 South Knox Street, 113 Carroll and 208 Griffin.

If the owner has not taken any action after the bid has been awarded the building official will give the contractor the go ahead after 10 days.

"We feel it’s extremely fair," Lunsford said.

The mayor said the city will welcome input from citizens regarding structures that may fall under the guidelines.