Code enforcement officers with the City of East Ridge recently received an engineer’s report that a dilapidated property on Bennett Road, once ordered demolished by the city, can be salvaged.
On Monday night, the East Ridge Housing Commission was informed by Michael Howell of the codes department that an engineer had signed off on a report which states the property owned by Ronald Johnson at 3412 Bennett Road could be habitable if repairs are made. The engineer’s report was mandated by the housing commission in recent months as the owners of the property fought to save the house. City officials said that the owner is disabled and his family is attempting to do much of the rehab work themselves.
Housing commission Chairman Jim Winters asked if the owners had obtained proper permits to continue with rehabilitation of the house which had been condemned and ordered razed by the city months ago. Howell said that no building permits had been applied for by the owners.
The board requested that codes enforcement officers contact the Johnson family and inform them that permits must be obtained for work on the house to legally move forward. The board voted to pass the item for 30 days in order for the owner to take steps to obtain permits.
A house that was being used as storage at 400 Donaldson Rd. has been razed by its owner. Sharon Buquo, the owner of the property, was given an extension by the board for several months. Buquo had previously requested additional time to clear the home of its contents. With the demolition of the house, the case has been closed.
A case that remains open is the ordered demolition of a house at 3707 Connelly Ln. The house was ordered razed months ago by the board. Letters to the owner, Carolyn Jean Smith, have gone unanswered. Several months back, it was discovered that the house had been foreclosed on. The new owner of the property appears to be Chase Mortgage, said board attorney Mark Litchford.
Litchford suggested the city provide notice to Chase Mortgage that it intends to demolish the house in 45 days. If Chase Mortgage wants to appeal the demolition, its representatives have until the next East Ridge Housing Commission meeting scheduled for Sept. 10 to do so.
A second property is also entangled in legal issues.
The property at 1312 Pleasant Street was ordered demolished earlier this year, officials said. In April, city officials were notified that the property was in bankruptcy and had been turned over to a trustee.
Litchford suggested that the city inform the trustee of its intention to raze the house. It was Litchford’s opinion that razing the house would actually add value to the property and he anticipated the bankruptcy court could very well agree.
Newly appointed board member Lynda Stephens asked if anyone was living in the house and could it be potentially rehabilitated? Further, who would pay for the work to raze the house?
Howell, of codes enforcement, said that home is in the flood zone, and because it would require renovations of more than 50 percent of its value, would have to meet current city building codes. In addition, federal government guidelines would require the home to be elevated above the flood plain. The city would pay to raze the house and then place a lien on the property to recover the cost.
Finally, the East Ridge Housing Commission officially elected Jim Winters as Chairman for the remainder of the year. Winters had been filling the chair after Eddie Phillips resigned. Stephens was elected to the position of Secretary for the remainder of the year.