City addresses two abandoned homes

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster City Council voted during its Sept. 6 meeting to demolish an abandoned house off First Street South, and to give the mortgage holders of another house off Pebble Lane a deadline to repair the home.

The council voted on the motions several weeks after the Alabaster Abatement Board declared the pair of houses a public nuisance. Both have been vacant for about a decade, said Alabaster Building Official Steve Sims.

Council members voted unanimously to demolish a deteriorated brick house at 725 First Street South. The property owners, who live in Montevallo, will have 30 days to contest the council’s decision before city crews move forward with destroying the structure.

“Nobody has offered to fix this one,” Sims said.

Sims showed the council several pictures of the house, which depicted extensive water damage, a sagging sheet rock ceiling and a collapsed interior wall. A porch originally constructed with the house had also fallen down.

It likely will cost the city about $5,800 to demolish the house, Sims said.

The council also voted to give the Jackson, Miss.-based Cimarron company, the mortgage holders of a house at 332 Pebble Lane, until Oct. 17 to begin renovation work on the home. However, the council ordered the company to secure the house and remove “any vermin that could possibly bite or harm children” from the property.

The house is about 36 years old, has a “pretty bad” raccoon infestation and has been abandoned since its last owner was foreclosed on, Sims said.

Ward 4 Councilman Rick Walters initially said he was in favor of demolishing the house, which has severe water damage and several broken windows, but agreed to give the mortgage holder more time to renovate the structure after hearing from a resident in the neighborhood.

“This house is deplorable, but we would like to see it renovated,” said Leah Bond, who lives on the same cul-de-sac as the abandoned house. “This house is bringing all of us down, so if they can’t renovate it, demolishing it would be the next best thing.”

Walters, who also lives in the neighborhood, said if the mortgage holders do not begin work on the house by the council’s Oct. 17 meeting, the council would look to have the house demolished.

“That house is in deplorable condition,” Walters said. “If we are going to extend the time, we need to send a message to the mortgage holder that we are not going to wait around for an extended period of time.”