Several Ardmore property owners received notice this week about an upcoming demolition hearing concerning condemned houses they own. Two hearing sessions — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — are scheduled for Oct.8, and Community Development Director Jessica Scott said that while not every building on the docket is necessarily going to be demolished, it’s an important step in the condemnation process.
“Basically, at any time, we have around 250 condemned houses that are at some stage of the process,” Scott said. She added that some of these condemned structures are being actively repaired while others sit abandoned and collapsing in on themselves. “So we take around 30 houses at a time and have the hearing to basically just check in with the owner. We find out what steps they are taking to correct the situation and then we work with them to determine if the city should tear the house down.”
The city has torn down 38 different properties so far in 2019, with 10 of those homes being demolished since the new fiscal year began July 1. An additional three condemned houses were torn down by the property owners in that same period. A lien in the amount of the demolition cost will be placed on the property taxes of any home torn down by the city. If the tax is not paid, the county will eventually sell the location to cover the cost.
“Usually the ones that we tear down are the ones with absentee owners who don’t care and are never coming back and are going to just let it sit there and rot,” Scott said. “Other people have just let it (their condemned property) fall off the radar for awhile and say they want to fix it. This hearing will put them on a timeline to get it fixed instead of just letting it sit there.”
She said other people at the hearing will opt to attempt to sell their condemned property which they can do as long as they give full disclosure to potential buyers that the property has been condemned. The hearing will give them a timeline to attempt to sell the property.
“We try to do two or three hearings (sessions) a year because if you don’t bring these things back up, people tend to forget,” Scott said.
Scott said after the hearings, the city will come up with the next list of houses to be demolished and then they will begin the bidding process to get those homes torn down.