The first order of business at the Clinton City Council’s June meeting will be to consider condemning and demolishing a house that neighbors say has been an eyesore for years.
James and Sherri White’s property, located at 1172 Isaac Weeks Road, Clinton, was deemed unsafe by city officials, who put the structure through its Unsafe Buildings Condemned process earlier this year. That process was initiated due to complaints from adjoining property owners, who voiced concerns about the condition of the structure as well as animals in and out of the property.
James White told Council members said he grew up at the house, which belonged to his grandfather. He said he had the funds to repair the property and people that were “ready to go to work” in making the repairs, including significant fixes to the roof. He expressed confidence he could get the job done in 30-60 days.
“It’s going to look like my grandfather’s old house when I get through with it,” White said
City officials said the residence met both conditions to be deemed unsafe, including being “in such dilapidated condition as to cause or contribute to blight, disease, vagrants, fire or safety hazard, to be a danger to children, or to tend to attract persons intent on criminal activities or other activities that would constitute a public nuisance.”
Owners whose properties have been deemed unsafe are given time to repair the unsafe aspects of the building or demolish it all together. The declaration was made in January, with 60 days given. Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary M. Rose said no repairs were made in the 60 days that followed, leading to the request to have the house demolished.
The matter came up at the Council’s recent monthly meeting.
Neighbors David and Shirley Williams said they have been clearing the lot for the past 18 years in an effort to avoid overgrowth and rodents. Shirley Williams said they have presented several proposals to the White family over the years, first offering to purchase the property and then offering to assist financially to demolish the house, while keeping under the ownership of the White family.
She said that 15 years ago, when the Williams’ offered to buy the house, they were told by a contractor that it was “absolutely” structurally sound. Now, it is far from that, they were told.
“We have remained very neighborly during this process,” Shirley Williams said. “There have been times they have asked to use our electricity, we have allowed them to do that. Whenever they did not have access to their yard, they would come in our driveway to park.”
“It is very unsightly, hazardous and unsanitary,” she continued, “and we continue to get the runaround on the timeline for this project.”
She said there has been talk of demolishing the structure for six years. There has been a toilet on the back porch for the past five years, she noted. There is also a large hole in the roof, and it has been raining into the structure for years.
“We’ve been told 30 days, we’ve been told a year, we’ve been told two years,” said Williams.
“The time is up,” said Mayor Lew Starling. “We are going to put this on the June calendar, but there has got to be a lot done, a lot done, a lot done. I don’t want anyone to lose their property, but realize that in June we probably will not have anymore patience.”
City officials have not been permitted by White to go inside the structure, so the extent of damage on the interior is not known.