City cleanup begins with teardown
City cleanup begins with teardown

City cleanup begins with teardown

Olney Public Works took a clamp bucket last week to the first of about fifty derelict homes scheduled for teardown this year as part of a citywide cleanup to make way for new housing.

Olney Police Cpl. Joe Logan, the city’s code enforcement officer, hopped in the driver’s seat of the city dozer to make the first pass at the home at 406 S. Ave. F.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m ready to get this done.”

Cpl. Logan spent the prior nine months conducting code inspections and tagging structures for repair or teardown, then working through the lengthy process of condemning abandoned homes and stores that cannot be brought up to code.

“This one did not have any sound structure left at all,” he said of the South Avenue F home. “The roof was falling in, the walls were imploding. It’s not a sound structure at all.”

The process for condemning the homes requires him to send a series of letters to the owner, advising them to remedy to code violations, and give them time to start the abatement process. The Avenue F homeowner agreed to have the house torn down rather than attempting to repair it, Cpl. Logan said.

“This is what they wanted to do with the property,” he said.

He then received approval from the City Council for the demolition and waited another 30 days for another abatement window. He obtained a warrant from the Justice of the Peace on Feb. 6 before heading to the vacant home with the city crew. A driver from Waste Connections was on hand to move the debris to the dump as the crews filled each of four large dumpsters parked in front of the house and adjoining garage.

Each demolition is expected to take about three days, Cpl. Logan said.

After the lot is cleared, the City will place a lien on the property, which the owner can pay, along with any outstanding property taxes, or the City will foreclose on the lot. It costs the City $8,000 to $12,000 to tear down each structure, he said.