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Troy City Council stops

wrecking ball aimed for buildings

By BETH LAKEY

Staff Writer

City leaders are holding off the demolition crews.

On a recommendation of Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, the Troy City Council, Tuesday night, tabled decision on awarding bids for demolition of dilapidated buildings.

At its June 27 meeting the council passed a resolution declaring the following buildings as unsafe: 300 Orion Street; 208 Griffin Street; two buildings at Route 5, Highway 29 North; 502 Hanchey Street; 113 Carroll; 104 Hodges Street and 125 Boyd Street.

Council President John Witherington said some "house cleaning" needed to be done before awarding the bids.

"I feel like we need to try to anticipate any questions," Lunsford said.

For example, they need to make sure they have worked out an agreement with the contractors for such cases as the property owners have already begun demolition.

"We want to be fair, but firm," Lunsford said.

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

As the result of legislation passed, the council adopted Article 2 of the Code of Alabama that outlines removing unsafe buildings and two years of work has paid off in giving the city authority to do something if the property owner won’t.

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.

The city had an original list of 14 dilapidated buildings and six property owners have cleared the land voluntarily.

In other business, the council:

· Established an on-site absentee voting location. Absentee votes can be cast Aug. 12 at the Pike County Courthouse.

"This is something that has been added that can be beneficial," Lunsford said. "I think it’s a good thing and I hope it will be utilized."

· Transferred a retail beer/wine license to Promarketing L.L.C.

· Heard a report from the mayor regarding enforcement of a city ordinance on garbage cans.

Lunsford said residents are leaving the "blue cans" at the street seven days a week.

He said the ordinance plainly states the cans should be out by 7 a.m. on the day of pickup and removed by 7 p.m.

· Member Charles Meeks reminded those in District 2 of a clean-up. Large items can be picked up at no charge by calling 566-1133 for an appointment. The district-wide clean-up will end July 21.