Blighted house gone. Privacy fence survives.Two sheds in backyard survive demolition.
Charlottesville, Va. – On Thursday Nov. 17 the house at 704 Montrose Avenue in Belmont was torn down. The $10,000 demolition made the front-page of The Daily Progress
. By the next afternoon, only a privacy fence and two sheds indicated anything had ever been there. The house’s footprint was covered with straw.
City Council passed the ordinance Sep. 19 ordering the blight removal. The July 16, 2001 Blight Ordinance is actually an eminent domain process that allows eminent domain to seize and sell the condemned land or, in this case, abatement where the house is torn down but owner retains the real estate and is billed for the abatement.
The case was prosecuted by Patty Armstrong, Property Maintenance Inspector, and James E. Tolbert, Director of Neighborhood Development Services. They accused owner 77-year-old Charles W. Rogers of 40 violations since 1993. Rogers pleaded guilty to the blight and asked for more time to remove his belongings.AN ORDINANCE DECLARING PROPERTY LOCATED AT 704 MONTROSE AVENUE TO BE A PUBLIC NUISANCE
BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of the City of Charlottesville , Virginia, pursuant to Sec. 5-198 of the Code of the City of Charlottesville:
IT APPEARING TO THIS COUNCIL, based on information presented by the Director of Neighborhood Development Services (“Director”) and the Planning Commission, pursuant to Sections 5-193 through 5-195 of the City Code, THAT the property located at 704 Montrose Avenue (City Tax Map 59, Parcel 189), hereinafter the “Property”, constitutes a Blighted Property, as defined within City Code Sec. 5-192; and
IT APPEARING FURTHER THAT the Owner of the Property, despite having full notice and an opportunity to be heard and to present a plan for curing the blight, has failed to cure, or present a reasonable plan to cure, the conditions constituting the blight; now, therefore
THIS COUNCIL hereby declares the Property at 704 Montrose Avenue to be a nuisance and orders the Director to proceed with demolition and removal of the building located on the Property following the abatement process specified in City Code Sec. 5-198.City Ordinance Code, Chapter 5 (Building Regulation, Property Maintenance), Article 5 (Blighted Property), Division 5 (Spot Blight Abatement)Sec. 5-192. - Definition(s).
For the purposes of this division the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed below:
(a) Blighted property shall mean and refer to any property with buildings or improvements which, by reason of dilapidation
, lack of ventilation
facilities, deleterious land use
, or any combination of these or other factors
, are detrimental to the safety
, or welfare
of the community.
(b) Director shall mean and refer to the director of neighborhood development services and his designee(s).
(7-16-01(1), § 2)Sec. 5-193. - Administrative determination of blight.
The director shall make a preliminary determination that a property is a blighted property. Upon making such a preliminary determination, the director shall notify the owner of the blighted property, specifying in writing the reasons why the property is considered blighted. A property owner shall have thirty (30) days from the director's written notice of the preliminary determination to respond with a plan to cure the blight within a reasonable time. If the owner fails to respond within the thirty-day period with a plan that is acceptable to the director, then the director may request the planning commission to conduct a public hearing and make findings and recommendations concerning the repair or other disposition of the property in question.
(7-16-01(1), § 2)Sec. 5-194. - Planning commission hearing.
(a) In the event a public hearing is scheduled by the planning commission:
(1) The director shall prepare a plan for the repair or other disposition of the subject property. The director's plan shall include any aspect(s) of a plan submitted by the property owner which the director deems to be reasonable.
(2) Notice of the public hearing, including the director's plan for the intended repair or other disposition of the property, and including the time and place of the hearing at which persons affected may appear and present their views, shall be given by the planning commission as follows:
(i) By regular and also by certified mail, to the following: (i) the owner of the blighted property, or the agent designated by the owner for receipt of service of notices concerning the payment of real estate taxes within the city;(ii) the abutting property owners in each direction, including those property owners immediately across the street or road from the property; and (iii) the representative neighborhood association, if any, for the immediate area, and
(ii) By publication, at least twice, with not less than six (6) days elapsing between the first and second publications, in a newspaper published or having general circulation in the city, and
(iii) By posting on the property itself.
(b) The public hearing shall take place not less than six (6) days nor more than twenty-one (21) days after the second newspaper publication.
(7-16-01(1), § 2)Sec. 5-195. - Report of planning commission.
(a) Following a public hearing, the planning commission shall make specific findings as to whether:
(1) The property is a blighted property, as defined within City Code section 5-192
(2) The owner has failed to cure the blight or to present a reasonable plan to do so;
(3) The property is occupied for personal residential purposes,
(4) The property has been condemned for human habitation for more than one (1) year;
(5) The director's plan for the repair or other disposition of the property is reasonable and in accordance with the city's adopted comprehensive plan, zoning ordinances, and other applicable land use regulations;
(6) The property is located within an area listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the event of such a determination, then the planning commission shall consult with the board of architectural review regarding the director's proposed plan for repair or other disposition of the property.
(b) The planning commission shall report its findings and recommendations concerning the repair or other disposition of the blighted property to the city council.
(7-16-01(1), § 2)Sec. 5-196. - City council hearing.
Upon receipt of findings and recommendations from the planning commission, the city council may, after an advertised public hearing, affirm, modify or reject the planning commission's findings and recommendations. If the repair or other disposition of the property is approved, the city may carry out the approved plan in accordance with the approved plan and applicable law.
(7-16-01(1), § 2)Sec. 5-197. - Recovery of costs.
The city shall have a lien on all property repaired or acquired under an approved plan, to cover the cost of improvements made by the city to bring the blighted property into compliance with applicable building codes and the cost of disposal, if any. The director shall prepare an affidavit certifying the amount of such costs. The lien shall be filed in the circuit court and shall be subordinate to any prior liens of record. The city may recover its costs of repair from the owner of record of the property when the repairs were made, at such time as the property is sold or disposed of by such owner. If the property is acquired by the city through eminent domain, the cost of repair may be recovered when the city council sells or disposes of the property.
In either case, the costs of repair shall be recovered from the proceeds of any sale of the property.
(7-16-01(1), § 2)Sec. 5-198. - Alternate remedies available to city.
(a) In lieu of the acquisition of a blighted property by the exercise of the city's powers of eminent domain
, and in lieu of the exercise of other powers listed in this division, the city council may, by ordinance, make findings that a property constitutes a blighted property, as defined within City Code section 5-192, declare such blighted property a nuisance and thereupon abate the nuisance.
(b) Such ordinance shall be adopted only after written notice by certified mail to the owner(s) of the property, at the last known address of such owner(s) as shown on the current real estate tax assessment books or current real estate tax assessment records. The notice shall advise the property owner that if corrective action is not taken by the property owner of the date(s) on which the ordinance will be considered by council, and a copy of the proposed ordinance shall be attached to the notice. A copy of such notice and proposed ordinance shall also be sent by certified mail to any lienholder(s) of record. Copies of certified mail receipt(s) shall be sufficient evidence of mailing.
(c) The abatement process shall be as follows:
(1) If the property owner fails to abate the blight prior to the date on which an ordinance is adopted by council, the director shall give a final notice to the owner and shall also send a copy of the final notice to any lienholder(s) of record. A copy of the ordinance adopted by council shall be attached to the final notice. The final notice shall state that, no fewer than fifteen (15) days from the mailing thereof, the city will commence to abate the blight, taking any corrective action the city deems appropriate, including, without limitation, removal of the building or other structure so as to abate the blight on the property. In the event the director determines that a removal of a building or structure is necessary to abate the blight on the property, the final notice shall give the owner and any lienholder of record at least thirty (30) days in which to abate the blight. The property owner shall have the right, upon reasonable notice to the city, to seek equitable relief, and the city shall initiate no corrective action while a proper petition is pending before a court of competent jurisdiction.
(d) The final notice shall be given to the owner and any lienholder(s) of record, as follows:
(1) To an individual who can be found within the city, by hand-delivering a copy of the notice to such person. Where hand-delivery is utilized the director shall prepare an affidavit certifying the hand-delivery. If the person named in the notice cannot be found after a diligent search, then notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of such person and a copy of the notice shall also be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises; this latter procedure shall be deemed the equivalent of personal notice. Copies of certified mail receipt(s) shall be sufficient evidence of mailing; an affidavit of the director shall be sufficient evidence of hand-delivery.
(2) To an individual under the age of eighteen (18) years ("infant"), or who is otherwise legally incompetent, then notice shall be provided by hand-delivering a copy thereof to such person's parent, guardian or committee. If such parent, guardian or committee cannot be found after a diligent search, the notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of such parent, guardian or committee and a copy of the notice shall also be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises. If there be no guardian or committee, notice shall be given by delivering a copy thereof to any person found at the infant's or incompetent's usual place of abode who is a member of his or her family and who is sixteen (16) years of age or older. If such infant or incompetent resides at a residential or other treatment facility, adult care facility or nursing home, notice shall be given by delivering a copy to the officer or official who is in charge of such facility. If a family member or an officer or official cannot be located after reasonable efforts to do so, then a copy of the notice shall be posted at the front door of the infant's or incompetent's usual abode and a copy of the notice shall also be posted in a conspicuous place on the unsafe premises. Compliance with the procedure(s) set forth in this paragraph shall be deemed the equivalent of personal notice. Copies of certified mail receipt(s) shall be sufficient evidence of mailing; an affidavit of the director shall be sufficient evidence of hand-delivery.
(3) To a corporation, bank, trust company, or other corporate or business entity, then notice shall be provided by hand-delivering a copy thereof to its president or other officer, director, manager, managing partner or agent thereof who is located in the city; or, if an individual cannot be found at the regular office or place of business in the city, by hand-delivering a copy to any employee thereof found at such office or place of business; or, if no such employee is found at such office or place of business, by leaving a copy of the notice posted at the front door of such office or place of business and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of the corporate or business entity. A copy of the notice shall also be posted in a conspicuous place on the unsafe premises. Compliance with the procedure(s) set forth in this paragraph shall be deemed the equivalent of personal notice. Copies of certified mail receipt(s) shall be sufficient evidence of mailing; an affidavit of the director shall be sufficient evidence of hand-delivery.
(4) To a person whose identity is unknown or who has no place of abode, office or place of business in the city, and if, after reasonable efforts, the city cannot locate a last known address for such person, notice shall be given by publishing a copy of the notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the city, once per week, for two (2) successive weeks, in a newspaper having general circulation within the city. A certificate of publication provided by the newspaper shall be sufficient evidence of the required publication.
(5) Where the final notice is sent by certified mail, or notice of publication is utilized, no action shall be taken by the city to remove any building or structure for at least thirty (30) days following the later of the return of a certified mailing receipt or newspaper publication.
(7-16-01(1), § 2)Previous ReportsCouncil rules blighted Belmont house has until September, July 7, 2011.Reprieve for blighted Belmont house, Sep. 6, 2011.