City cleans clutter

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, July 15, 2009

By By Adam Prestridge
Carolyn Caraway’s tearful plea with members of the Atmore City Council Monday afternoon was not enough for them to spare her home from demolition.
The council voted 4-1 to teardown the dilapidated structure following recommendations from city building inspector Chris Black and city attorney Amanda Hines after several years of complaints by neighbors and warnings by the city.
According to Black, a 45-day notice of demolition of property was placed on the property where the home and outbuildings are located at 1415 Rockaway Creek Rd. on June 4. The notice stated that the property “needs to be demolished for the following reason(s): Substandard structure in accordance with Ordinance 07-2008.”
Caraway was in attendance to appeal the decision to tear down her home.
Black informed the council that a limited amount of work had been done on the property since he had placed the 45-day notice on the property, adding that the issue has been ongoing for more than five years during which the city has been in repeated contact with Caraway.
The home on the property is not currently occupied and has no electricity running to it. The roof has severe damage and other structural problems are evident, and outbuildings are falling in. Prior to notice of demolition, tall grass, weeds and trees camouflaged it from the road and trash including an old automobile littered the property.
Despite her plea, Mayor Howard Shell informed Caraway that he doesn’t “really have a choice” due to the ongoing nature of the nuisance.
Hines explained that the Ordinance 07-2008 was recently adopted to be in compliance with the new Alabama statutory laws governing demolition of properties.
Hines went on to say that the 45-day notice had been posted and “no action had been taken” by Caraway to notify the city as to whether or not she could or could not perform the work needed to bring the property up to compliance. She also stated that according to title search records, Caraway’s ex-husband, Donald, has been off the property since 2006.
Five of Caraway’s neighbors were also on hand during the meeting in support of the structures’ demolition.
Neighbor Aubrey Stanley mirrored Sellers’ sentiments.
Caraway denied having been offered to have the property purchased.
The council approved the demolition of the property, with councilman John Garrard abstaining, who earlier had Caraway share her health issues over the past several years including a battle with cancer.
Caraway has until Monday to remove the home and two outbuildings from the property or the city will demolish them and place a lien on property for the demolition expenses.
In other business, the council:
Owners of the property have 30 days to pay the liens or the city has the option to auction the property off.
A workshop meeting with Shell, the council and Atmore Recycle Now committee members was set for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday to discuss prices of a new contractor and actions that would have to take place should a change be made.

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