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June 3, 2014

Not a good list to be on: 36 structures added to New Albany demolition roll

The city has moved forward with razing some of the structures

NEW ALBANY — A vote by the New Albany Building Commission last month affirmed that 36 vacant and dilapidated structures can be demolished by the city.

Legal notice has been provided and a list of the properties was published last month in the News and Tribune, according to city officials.

The city has moved forward with razing some of the structures, which are almost all houses, and the rest could be taken down at any time.

Typically the city gives property owners 30 days to tear down a building or prove they will refurbish a structure before the structures are removed.

“If they fail to do that, then we’re prepared to step in and take the necessary actions as needed,” said New Albany Building Commissioner David Brewer.

The costs for razing structures can span from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the scope of the work and size of the structure.

If the city has to demolish a building, a lien is placed on the property and the money spent on the demolition is recouped when taxes are due or when the land is sold.

“There’s things out there we want to avoid. We don’t want to tear down something that can be saved or is of historic nature,” Brewer said.

“At the same time, public safety has to come first.”

When properties and structures become severely distressed, the city has no choice but to step in, he continued.

“At that point we’re obligated to move forward, because that’s ultimately why we’re here; to eliminate the blight and protect public safety,” Brewer said.

Some property owners have multiple buildings that have been added to the city’s demolition list.

New Albany City Councilman Dan Coffey has been critical in the past of code enforcement especially in the west end district that he represents.

But he believes the city has improved its enforcement in recent years and is being more aggressive in dealing with unsafe structures.

“The biggest thing is, there’s just so much that needs attention, it’s going to take awhile to catch up,” Coffey said.

 

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