Home Local News Rockingham Council approves demolition of Brookwood Avenue home

Rockingham Council approves demolition of Brookwood Avenue home

A photo included in the Rockingham City Council agenda packet shows a dilapidated home on Brookwood Avenue.

ROCKINGHAM — Another abandoned home in one neighborhood will soon be torn down.

The Rockingham City Council on Tuesday approved a demolition ordinance for an overgrown house at 206 S. Brookwood Ave.

Assistant City Manager John Massey said that proceedings against the house started last August and that the owner, listed as Johnnie Thomas, and other parties of interest were notified — via certified mail, a posting on the property and through a listing in the local print newspaper — of a hearing with the code enforcement officer over the condition of the property.

The code enforcement officer later sent a notice to the property owners to either repair or demolish the home by March 16, according to Massey, who added that no action has been taken.

Photos included in the agenda packet show that the house is barely visible from the street. They also show garbage strewn throughout the house, as well as a hole in the ceiling and exposed wires from an outlet being removed.

Massey said the photos were taken last fall and “conditions have only gotten worse since then.”

Mayor John Hutchinson pointed out that this is the second house on Brookwood for which the city has approved a demolition ordinance.

The first was for a dwelling at 204 Brookwood Ave. and was approved in December, along with one at 302 Bush St.

Hutchinson referenced a presentation last year from residents in and originally from the area that was accompanied with a plea to help clean it up.

While the city has started, the demolition process is a lengthy one.

“It takes eight or nine months to get through it,” Massey said. “Some of the ones they pointed out, we are still working on.”

Massey added that there are issues with the titles and heirs of the estates, which complicates trying to determine all of the parties of interest.


Hutchinson added that in addition to what the city can do, cleaning up the neighborhood also has to “happen from within.”

The mayor credited efforts by the congregation of Mount Pisgah AME Zion Church.

“That church is working hard over there … We appreciate what they’re doing,” Hutchinson said.

Massey previously told the RO that the cost to the city to demolish a home can range from $4,000-$15,000 depending on if it needs asbestos abatement or if the fire department can use it for training.

One of the properties condemned in December was set ablaze for a controlled burn.

However, Fire Chief Harold Isler said the proximity of the adjacent properties would prevent the department from doing the same with the house at 206.

According to the ordinances, the cost of demolition constitutes a lien on the property.

The council approved demolition ordinances for at least six properties in 2021.


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.