Dover City Council condemned six incomplete Northdown Drive homes that had become neighborhood eyesores since construction on the structures came to a halt in 2009.


Dover City Council condemned six incomplete Northdown Drive homes that had become neighborhood eyesores since construction on the structures in the Village of Westover came to a halt in 2009.

Council voted 8-0, with one absent, Monday night to condemn four single family homes on Northdown Drive for demolition, and it voted by the same margin to condemn two town houses on the same drive for repairs.

Dover Department of Planning & Inspections Director Ann Marie Townshend’s recommendation to condemn the neighborhood eyesores came under the city’s dangerous buildings ordinance.

All six properties had gone through the foreclosure process, and Chesapeake Holdings WV VI. LLC, a subsidiary of M&T Bank, became the owner, Townshend said.

Council’s condemnation of the three structures at 357, 361, 365 and 408 Northdown Drive means the owner has until Aug. 23 to demolish the homes unfit for human habitation, Townshend said. If they did not act by then, the city would demolish the structures at an estimated cost of $40,000 to $50,000, Townshend said.

The city would then recover the costs of such repairs through a property lien or a lawsuit, she said.

There had been numerous code violations on these four, single family properties since construction ground to a halt in 2009, Townshend said.  They were registered as vacant in May 2012 and declared unfit for human habitation in June, Townshend said.

They had Tyvek siding blowing in the wind, and had no electrical service, she said. And some of the structures had been infested by birds and/or had standing water in the basement, causing unsanitary conditions.

“These particular properties we do get quite a few complaints about,” Townshend said. “And, quite honestly, I’m very sympathetic to the concerns of neighboring residents.”

Northdown Driver resident Jason Gardner spoke in favor of having the four homes condemned for demolition. Gardner lives across the street from the home with no siding. He put his family’s house up for sale 10 months ago out of frustration with the deteriorating, incomplete houses.

“Over the past three years, I’ve seen these houses literally fall apart at the seams,” he said. “People vandalize these houses. I’ve seen people leave their dogs and cats to roam free around these houses. It’s been a huge eyesore. I am for Mrs. Townshend’s recommendation.”

He thanked Townshend, City Manager Scott Koenig and their staff for working with him to address this issue.

As for the other two homes, these three story, wood framed townhouse units were also registered as vacant in May and declared as unfit for human habitation in June due to no electrical service, incomplete construction and deterioration of the structures, Townshend said. They too were left uncompleted in 2009.

"They do not look too bad from the front, but both have partially completed decks in the back and the siding is missing on one of the units," Townshend said.

She recommended that council compel the owner to repair the units, not demolition, since they are part of a unit of townhouses that are occupied, Townshend said.

If the owner does not complete repairs by Aug. 23, the city would remove the partially complete decks and repair the siding at an estimated cost of $4,000 to $7,000, Townshend said. The city would then recoup the costs.