Demolishing abandoned homes can be a complicated process

Abandoned homes in Florence are getting torn down

FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - The last thing you want to see in your neighborhood are run-down homes that no one lives in.

It can take a long time to clear those properties.

If you see spray paint on an abandoned home, the city is getting ready to tear it down. It means it’s been declared it a public nuisance but the process isn’t an easy one.

“I know people often think, ‘Why don’t we just take it down? They can just come get it.’ You can’t just come get someone’s property no more than I can come and take yours,” said District 1 Council Woman Kaytrina Simmons.

Simmons said tearing down old, abandoned homes is a complicated process for the city of Florence.

The city has to find the owner.

“They may be deceased or moved out of state and they have left it to their children or to whomever they left it to and then we have to go through the process of identifying who the property owners are and we have to contact them” said Simmons.

The owners will get time to respond, but that process takes time. What happens is those who own nearby properties can end up paying the price.

“When you have dilapidated structures and homes, it brings down the property value in the neighborhood. It also creates crime. People, wanderers will just take up residency in there,” said Simmons.

The city building department is about to take down at least seven homes that look like they’ve declared a public nuisance. However, Simmons said that’s not even half of what the city and her district are dealing with.

“I often ask people would you want that eyesore next to your house. There’s a lot of time that people buy them and their landlords and they let them get in any type of condition that they want to and that’s not acceptable. The people in my district have said they wanted the district cleaned up, revitalized and that’s what I’m going to do,” said Simmons.

Melissa Bailey said there are ways for the city to recover the cost of tearing down those buildings.

“In doing that to try to be good stewards we balance it with placing a lien on the property to try to recoup the money that was used to remove the property. What we do know is whether or not you recoup that money, the removal of that blight is worth more than the financial aspects of removing the blight,” said Bailey.

Once the properties like this one is demolished, it will be an empty lot that has to maintained.

They say what is ideal is to have something go back on the lot to put it back on the tax revenue roll.

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