De­te­ri­o­rat­ing Church Hill house to be de­mol­ished

Record Observer - - News - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

CHURCH HILL — The de­te­ri­o­rat­ing and long aban­doned house at 319 Main St. in Church Hill is likely to soon be a thing of the past.

At their meet­ing on Mon­day, June 6, the Church Hill town com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved Res­o­lu­tion 12016, clear­ing the way for the de­mo­li­tion of the building. They hope it will bring an end to lengthy ef­forts to do some­thing about the twos­tory home, which the town has owned since 2014.

“This res­o­lu­tion will give us the op­por­tu­nity to put it out for bid for de­mo­li­tion and recla­ma­tion of the prop­erty,” said Com­mis­sioner Char­lie Rhodes.

While the ac­tual age of the house is not known, Com­mis­sioner Jack Grif­fin said he be­lieves it’s over 100 years old. The se­ries of events that got the sit­u­a­tion to where it is now can be traced back nearly 20 years, said Com­mis­sioner Ed Raf­fetto, who in­tro­duced the res­o­lu­tion.

“It was sold about 1998 or ‘99 ... to a per­son who did not have the re­sources to take care of it,” he said. “It was al­ready in poor con­di­tion then. The owner aban­doned the prop­erty and it lay derelict. The bank, once it re­al­ized it had this prop­erty, did noth­ing ... zero ... so we had many years of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion on top of what was al­ready a se­ri­ous prob­lem.”

Raf­fetto said that over years there were de­mands from the town “that the bank take care of its prop­erty” but the mat­ter was not re­solved. Liens were later in­volved and in Au­gust 2014, own­er­ship of the long-va­cant house passed to the town, he said.

There was talk of restor­ing the building, but it proved im­prac­ti­cal. Es­ti­mates for restora­tion provided to the com­mis­sion­ers ear­lier this spring were so high that restora­tion was deemed “eco­nom­i­cally un­fea­si­ble,” ac­cord­ing to Raf­fetto.

“They have elec­tri­cal wiring in there from about 1920 ... not all of it ... but some of it. The back end could col­lapse ... the back end, which was very poorly built to be­gin with ... has not been main­tained,” said Raf­fetto. “The sewer pipes are al­most rusted through ... ex­posed lead paint [is] all over the house. The porch is about to col­lapse.”

Yel­low tape warn­ing peo­ple to stay away is around the building, but it keeps get­ting ripped down, ac­cord­ing to Raf­fetto. He calls the house “a dan­ger to the health, safety, and wel­fare of any­body who goes near it.”

Rhodes said, “We own it ... we have po­ten­tial li­a­bil­ity.” He hopes a firm can be en­gaged soon to re­move the old struc­ture and re-use the land. “It could pos­si­bly, in the future, be a lit­tle park­ing lot there.”

A new house, how­ever, ap­pears un­likely, said the com­mis­sion­ers, be­cause it is an oddly shaped lot.

PHOTOS BY JACK SHAUM

The Church Hill town com­mis­sion­ers are seek­ing bids to de­mol­ish this de­te­ri­o­rat­ing and long-va­cant house at 319 Main St. It is be­lieved to be about 100 years old.

The front porch of 319 Main St. in Church Hill is about to col­lapse, ac­cord­ing town Town Com­mis­sioner Ed Raf­fetto. The com­mis­sion­ers are seek­ing bids to tear down the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing and va­cant building.

The back side of 319 Main St. is in dan­ger of col­laps­ing, ac­cord­ing to Church Hill Town Com­mis­sioner Ed Raf­fetto. The town is seek­ing bids to de­mol­ish the house.

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