ROCKINGHAM — The city government is continuing to work on cleaning up abandoned houses in one neighborhood.
The Rockingham City Council on Tuesday approved a demolition ordinance for a house at 211 S. Broookwood Ave.
According to Assistant City Manager John Massey, the small house — which is split into two units — has “been abandoned for some time now.”
The property owner is listed as Johnnie Thomas.
Massey said the city began proceedings regarding the property in February but has had no communication with the owner and no action has been taken to make improvements.
Photos included in the agenda packet appear to show cushions and trash throughout the house, as well as a spot where the ceiling is falling in.
This makes the third house on Brookwood for which the council has approved a demolition ordinance since December, according to Massey. The other two were at 204 and 206. The council also approved an ordinance for a house on nearby Bush Street.
Last year, concerned residents approached the council about clearing out abandoned houses in the neighborhood.
Thomas is also listed as the owner of a property the council voted in April to demolish.
The city has to go through a six-to-eight-month legal process, which includes attempting to contact property owners by certified mail and advertising in the print newspaper before a demolition ordinance is presented to the council.
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.
According to the ordinances, the cost of demolition constitutes a lien on the property.
Prior to approving the ordinance, the City Council set a public hearing for the July meeting on a request to abandon a right-of-way.
The property is 60 feet wide and about 200 feet long between River Road and U.S. 220, and is a remnant from when the N.C. Department of Transportation aligned River Road with Midway Road during the construction on the Midway-220 interchange, according to Massey.
Although District Engineer Matthew Kitchen said NCDOT has no interest in the property and no longer maintains the right-of-way, Massey said state statute requires the City Council to take action.
Massey said the abandonment was requested by Phil Patterson.
If the council approves the abandonment, the right-of-way will be equally divided between adjoining property owners.
Later in the meeting, the City Council reappointed the following residents to local boards:
- Kenny Melvin*, Jimmy McDonald and Greg Brown as in-city members of the Planning and Zoning Board
- Ray Herndon and Rick Byrd as in-city regular members and John Maultsby as an in-city alternate member of the Board of Adjustment
- Benny Sharpe as a member of the ABC Board
- Jyoti Patel and Steve Morris as members of the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority Board
There are still two vacancies on the Historic Preservation Board, but there were no recommendations.
*DISCLOSURE: Kenny Melvin is co-founder and co-publisher of the Richmond Observer.