Home Local News Rockingham Council approves demolition ordinance, sets public hearing for rezoning

Rockingham Council approves demolition ordinance, sets public hearing for rezoning

The Rockingham City Council has approved a demolition ordinance for this home on S. Grove Avenue. Photo courtesy City of Rockingham

ROCKINGHAM — City leaders on Tuesday approved the demolition of yet another dilapidated house in the same neighborhood.

According to Assistant City Manager John Massey, proceedings on the property at 117 S. Grove Ave. began in September of 2022 and the owners — the heirs of Buelah McRae — and “other interested parties were notified of a hearing.

One of the heirs, Bessie Young, met with the code enforcement officer and the owners were given until Jan. 17 to make repairs or demolish the house.

“They’ve not done anything to address the condition of the property,” Massey told the City Council. “It’s standing wide open, vagrants coming and going from it.”

Massey also pointed out several structural defects, including a wall that is “in danger of falling over,” a leaky roof and a section of the house without a floor.

“It is dangerous, it needs to be removed from the property,” Massey said.

Councilman Bennett Deane said at first glance, the house looks like it might be able to be rehabilitated as a project for Habitat for Humanity — “but when you look at the structural damage, it looks like it’s too far gone.”

A section of the floor is missing in a house slated for demolition. Photo courtesy City of Rockingham

In the summer of 2021, concerned residents approached the council about clearing out abandoned houses in the neighborhood.

This makes the seventh demolition ordinance approved for houses between Rockingham Road and Long Drive in just over a year.

The other six houses include: 1003 Leak Street (Sept. ‘22); 109 Kinney Street (August ‘22); 211 S. Brookwood Ave. (June ‘22); 206 S. Brookwood Ave. (April ‘22); 204 S. Brookwood Ave. and 302 Bush St. (December ‘21).

The process for the city involves several legal hurdles, including a title search and advertising notices in the local print newspaper, and can take up to 10 months. The price tag on a demolition can range from $4,000-15,000, Massey previously told the RO. Sometimes, the fire department is able to use the house for training.


Last year, Massey said the city has been in contact with Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills in hopes the organization can acquire some of the properties in the area for renovation or to tear them down and rebuild.

The City Council also set a public hearing for its next meeting regarding the rezoning of 8.33 acres on Clemmer Road from Rural Residential to High-Density Residential.

Massey told the council that Connelly Development, which submitted the rezoning request last month, has an option to purchase the four tracts of land with plans for a multi-family development.

The same company previously developed the nearby Fountain Point Apartments.

According to Massey, there are currently single-family homes on two of the tracts, one of tracts is vacant and the other used to have a mobile home which has since been removed.

The area has access to city services, Massey said, and hasn’t been rezoned since it was annexed in 1995.

Massey also noted that the N.C. Department of Transportation plans to widen Clemmer Road as part of a project to connect U.S. 1 and U.S. 74 Business.

The planning board unanimously recommended accepting the request at its Feb. 7 meeting.

Previous articleMoss bill would authorize sale of trapped rabbits for hunting preserves
Next articleCenter Stage: Local teen to represent Richmond County in state beauty pageant
Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.