DeKalb residents struggle to have abandoned home demolished

by: Carl Willis Updated:

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -  Neighbors in a DeKalb County neighborhood say an abandoned home that burned down nearly five years ago must go.

The county agrees, but DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan told Channel 2's Carl Willis the property is constantly changing hands and that keeps restarting the process.

Neighbor Dennard Wright showed Willis the property on Wednesday night.

"The word ‘wow’ is an understatement," said Wright. "It's even worse up close." 

The home on Walnut Ridge Court in unincorporated DeKalb County burned down in 2009.

Since then, it's been an eyesore and a danger to the community neighbors said.

"Kids can get in there and get trapped playing around," said Wright. "You never know."

Brennan said code enforcement has an extensive history with the foreclosure that has been resold several times.

He said the home is so neglected that it qualifies for the in-rem demolition process, but the county first has to get two convictions on the owner in recorder's court.

"We've cited the various owners of the house and tried to bring them into compliance. We have not been successful in our efforts and we are now stepping up the process," said Brennan.

The county came close to demolishing the property, but it was sold once again.

Brennan said these properties are often bought and sold sight unseen by brokers. 

Channel 2 Action News checked the county records and the total value for the land and the building is $1,460. 

The appraised value is just $548 even though it sits on a corner lot surrounded by occupied single family homes.

Brennan said in many cases with instances like this, the liability on the property is worth more than the property itself.

Meanwhile, neighbors suffer.

"On the other side you'll see tires that have been dumped over there," said Wright. 

The county will again try to clear the land, with the next court date set in March.
 
"We are doing everything that we are legally capable of doing to remedy this situation," said Brennan. "We cited the owners, taken them to court, gotten convictions, put liens on the property. The next step (is) demolition but we have to act within the confines of the law." 

Wright said neighbors feel helpless and hope that this time they get some relief.

"This is our neighborhood we have to take care of our neighborhood," said Wright.  "It's just unacceptable."



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