There’s an old saying that the wheels of government turn slowly. Nine months ago, a house at 4705 Belford Road at corner of Glensford Drive in Montclair was badly burned by fire. When the new Glensford Drive extension to Raeford Road was opened by the North Carolina Department of Transportation last month, motorists could see that house sitting on a hill overlooking the Belford Drive roundabout, creating an eyesore.
When the home owner failed to make repairs, the City of Fayetteville stepped in to enforce the code. Fayetteville Code Enforcement Manager Bart Swanson searched the record for Up & Coming Weekly and found that Code Inspector James Rutherford spent a lot of time trying to resolve the issue and get the house torn down.
Rutherford recorded “20 major steps that were taken,” said Swanson.
Rutherford’s findings are that the fire occurred on March 27 of this year. Flames went through the roof before firefighters could respond, and the modest ranch-style house was a total loss. The process taken by the city to remove the house is exhausting to follow, but it’s all required by law.
The file was opened within a week after the fire, on April 2. The inspector gave the home owner time to file insurance and receive a settlement. Eight weeks later on May 26, the house was formally inspected by the city and declared dangerous. On May 28, a title search was requested. And on June 6, the title search came back showing the identity of the owner.
A month or so later, the city held a hearing to address the dangerous building declaration. The record shows that the home owner failed to appear. The hearing notice had not been served on the owner, so another hearing date was set for July 15. Again, the owner failed to appear. The next day an order was issued advising the home owner to repair the house or have it razed. He was given 60 days to do so.
In mid-September, the property was inspected again. The owner had failed to comply with the order to take action. Less than two weeks later, a proposed demolition ordinance was taken before Fayetteville City Council. It passed, and Mayor Nat Robertson signed the document on Sept. 29. At the same time, funds were allocated for the demolition. According to Hometown Demolition Contractors of Fayetteville’s website, residential demolitions can cost upwards of $4 thousand to as much as $14 thousand depending on a number of variables. A lien is placed on the property to recover the cost.
On Oct. 9, the demolition ordinance was recorded in the owner’s property documents file at the Cumberland County Register of Deeds. A couple of days later, a letter was sent to the owner advising him to remove personal property so that an asbestos inspection could be made. That inspection was done and a report was returned to the city four days later. Demolition bid requests were sent out on Nov. 20 and the code enforcement division received bids and issued a purchase order to the company with the lowest bid.
A demolition order was issued on Nov. 30. The contractor got a permit to proceed with the demolition, and according to Fayetteville Planning and Code Enforcement Director Scott Shuford, the house should soon come down.