The first razing of an abandoned home in more than six years is set to move forward, with the Monday night approval by the Covington City Council of a demolition bid.
The house set to be demolished is located at 7135 Chaney Drive in the Nelson Heights neighborhood. The house's owner, Herman Tuggle, failed to comply with a November municipal court order. His home was ordered demolished by Municipal Court Judge David Strickland in April.
Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said the demolition should be a warning for other property owners to maintain and clean up their own houses.
"It shows disrespect to the neighbors and the people [who are] trying to keep their houses up," Williams said.
The court order comes nearly a year after the city council approved a new set of tougher public nuisance ordinances. Under the old ordinance, property owners of derelict houses had to be served their court orders in person, which often drew out court proceedings involving absentee landowners who live out of state.
According to City Manager Steve Horton, under the new ordinance, the city only has to serve the address of the derelict property and the last known address of the property owner.
Baker Restoration was awarded the contract to demolish the house and completely raze the property for $7,000. No date of demolition has yet been set.
"The house was in a state of, what I think, was grave disrepair to the point of collapse," Horton said.
Brett Reed, building inspector for the city of Covington, said 60 percent of the building's floor was "shot" and that 50 percent of its roof was sunken in. Electrical wiring for the house had also been stripped out he said.
"It's in a dangerous shape for anyone to go in," Reed said.
Horton said funding for the demolition is coming from the city's General Fund. After the house has been razed, a lien will be put on the property.
"When [the property] eventually changes hands, somebody will pay the city their money," Horton said.
Horton said there is currently another abandoned home on Lassiter Street, within a quarter of a mile of the house on Chaney Drive that could be scheduled for demolition, once a hearing on the matter is scheduled.
Houses that create a public health hazard or a public nuisance and are in such a state of disrepair that the public welfare is at risk are considered candidates for demolition. If the property owners fail to respond to city citations and court summons, it could reach the point where the city decides to raze the property Horton said.
"Surely every [vacant] house is not to the point where it needs to be demolished, but some of them may be," Horton said.