The city of Dover has targeted the vacant structure at 29 N. Kirkwood Street for demolition or repairs because it has fallen sorely into disrepair.


The city of Dover has targeted the vacant structure at 29 N. Kirkwood Street for demolition or repairs because it has fallen sorely into disrepair.

“We are bringing this forward as an emergency case under the dangerous building ordinance,” city Director of Planning and Community Development Ann Marie Townshend said Monday before Dover City Council. “The property has been the site of numerous violations since 2000.”

The violations include vehicles parked in the grass, tall grass and weeds, overgrowth and junk and debris on the property – including about 40 tires in the backyard, Townshend said.

The property was registered as vacant in June 2009, she said. It was administratively condemned in February 2010.

Then, the Kirkwood Street property sustained a fire caused by arson on Sept. 21, 2011, Townshend said.

In addition, there are a number of outstanding payments due to the city, including delinquent taxes, code enforcement fines, water fees and grass cutting charges, she said.

“We are bringing it forward as a dangerous building, and we believe it meets the following criteria: fire damage, unfit for habitation, general welfare, code violations and unoccupied building,” Townshend said.

The city Department of Planning and Community Development brought it forward as an emergency case because of the history of arson and its potential to attract people getting into the property – similar to  the neighboring property  demolished just a few weeks ago, she said.

“Being burned out, it’s very difficult to keep secure,” she said. “What we are recommending to City Council is that the building be declared dangerous and that all overgrowth, junk and debris be removed [and] order the property immediately repaired or demolished.”

The building inspector would compel the repair or demolition of the building if the owners did not comply by Nov. 2, Townshend said. The city manager and city solicitor would then impose a lien on the property or file a lawsuit to recover the costs of such action, she added.

The city has budgeted $100,000 in the 2012 fiscal year for demolitions. City officials estimated this property would cost $10,000 to $15,000 to demolish.

The city sent its intent to compel repairs or demolition to the property owners and lien holders by certified mail, for which the city bears receipts, Townshend said.

Councilman David L. Bonar asked if the property owners had responded to the city; Townshend said there had been no response.

Councilwoman Beverly C. Williams moved to accept Townshend’s recommendation, seconded by Bonar. The measure passed 7-0, with two absent.