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The update on the “Backyard Blight?” article

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on today’s “Backyard Blight?” article and I sincerely thank Susan Stilwell for lots of the information.

Let’s take a look at what I’ve found out.

UPDATE #1: Here’s what I’ve learned about this building today. The building is slated for demolition, with River District Properties getting the Certificate of Appropriateness from the River District Design Commission that was needed to be able to do the demolishing. According to the terrific Susan Stilwell…

This building was built in 1968 of bricks similar to those used at American National Bank and was an office for Elbert Williamson, who owned the Gravely-Miller Tobacco Factory AKA Coin-Op property. After applying for a permit to demolish, which was approved by the River District Commission, the OWNER removed the windows……been gone about 3 weeks. The property is NOT blighted. It has a good roof, four rooms, and an attractive facade.

I am still standing behind my article. The building is still a potential safety hazard due to the open windows. The city has condemned other buildings for being abandoned and unsecured, with that condemnation being lifted once the property is secured. It would take two pieces of plywood to abate the safety hazard until the building is finally demolished.

As for the use of the word blight, I reference the City’s definition of “dangerous structure”…

Dangerous structure shall mean any building, wall or other structure in the City that fails to comply with the current edition of the Virginia Maintenance Code through damage, deterioration, infestation, improper maintenance, or for other reasons, and thereby becomes unsafe, unsanitary or deficient in adequate exit facilities, or which constitutes a hazard or public nuisance, or is otherwise dangerous to human life, health or safety, or the public welfare.

And let’s see what the Virginia Maintenance Code says about what is required about windows…

304.13 Window, skylight and door frames.
Every window, skylight, door and frame shall be kept in sound condition, good repair and weather tight.

What is supposed to happen if the building is declared a “dangerous structure” according to the City of Danville’s code?

Notices to owner and lienholders. Whenever the Code Official shall be of the opinion and find that any structure in the City is a dangerous structure as defined in this section, the Code Official shall cause written notice to be served upon the owner and lienholder, as provided in subsection (d) of this section. Such notice shall state that the building, wall or any other structure has been declared to be a dangerous structure, and shall, at a minimum, provide the following information:

One part of that information being…

An order to complete the necessary corrective action to abate the unsafe or dangerous conditions as determined by the Code Official by specifying the required repairs and/or improvements to be made to the building or structure or by requiring the building or structure to be taken down and removed. The order shall provide a stipulated time within which the necessary corrective action is to be completed.

And that’s as simple as it can be. Get rid of the potential safety hazard. Board up the windows until the building is demolished. It won’t be pretty looking, but that won’t matter if the building is going to truly be demolished soon.

I’d really like to thank Susan Stilwell for her information regarding the history of the building. I agree with her saying that it’s a shame that a building like that is planning on being demolished just to get a few extra parking spaces. I’d also like to thank everyone who has contacted me today with objections to this article. I love my readers. We won’t agree on everything, but I sincerely love to have my opinions & articles challenged.sclogo

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