8/2/2017 4:41:00 PM Covington City Council Discusses Blighted Properties
BY JEROME JOHNSON Local News Editor Covington City Council convened Tuesday evening in Council Chambers of City Hall to take in a presentation from Eric Tyree, who serves as director of development services for the city of Covington.
Tyree’s presentation focused on the 25 properties in the city that are currently on the minimum housing list.
“These aren’t in any particular order as far as importance; it is just the number we work through during the year,” Tyree said of the 25 properties on the minimum housing list.
Of the 25 properties, Tyree reported that five of them will be removed from the minimum housing list in the near future.
The first property that is heading toward removal is 421 E. Phillip Street.
Tyree said of this property, “This is one that will be coming off the list this year. The owner has chosen to demolish this property.”
Tyree and members of city council complimented the property by saying it always had a nice architectural design, but the lack of upkeep over the years put it in a position to face demolition.
The second of the five properties to come off the minimum housing list was 1165 S. Center Avenue.
This property was removed from the list due to an upcoming demolition.
The next two properties that Tyree said would come off the list are in close proximity of S. Center Avenue.
Those properties are located at 1120 and 1129 S. Lincoln Avenue.
Both of those properties would end up going through the demolition process.
Tyree said of 1120 S. Lincoln Avenue as being a safety hazard.
Tyree informed city council that 1129 S. Lincoln Avenue was sold in a tax sale and was under the impression that it would be repaired.
However, Tyree then learned that the owner had the intention of following through with a demolition of the property.
The final of the five properties set to be removed from the minimum housing list is located at 350 E. Fudge Street.
Tyree told council that this property was sold to a new owner and the owner is currently working on it including putting a new metal roof on the property.
“Work on this property is going in the right direction,” Tyree said.
Some of the other properties on the minimum housing list were presented in a positive light as Tyree said that while the properties had problems, they had the potential to end up in better shape with a little bit of work.
There were some properties on the list that Tyree felt he had to put pressure on the owners to make them decide on what they wanted to do with their properties before the city had to intervene.
The conclusion of Tyree’s presentation focused on five new additions to the minimum housing list.
The first addition to the list is located at 615 S. Alleghany Avenue.
Tyree gave a description of the property by saying, “You probably don’t notice this house as much because of the trees in the front. This house is in really rough shape.”
“The windows are knocked out in the rear and I think someone is using the back porch as a doghouse basically,” Tyree continued.
Tyree got in contact with the owner, and a relative from out of state was willing to donate the house to the city if there was an appropriate program or let the city carry out a demolition.
The next property to be added on to the list is located at 423 W. Prospect Street.
It was mentioned that the potential owner was planning to take off the second floor and replace it with an A-Frame and use it for a garage type building.
“That’s not what I envisioned for that area for redevelopment,” Tyree said.
Tyree also said the reason that this building will be put on the list is to expedite an effort to have changes and improvements made to the building.
City Councilman Bill Zimmerman then proposed an idea to use the building to show the city’s history and place memorabilia in the building.
The third addition to the list is located on 344 E. Pine Street.
Tyree said this property is tax delinquent, has a low value and bringing down the adjacent neighborhoods due to overgrown shrubbery hiding the house from view.
It was mentioned that the property was structurally sound and something could be done with it if the effort was made.
The last two additions to the list are located at 1540 Greenlawn Avenue and 128 E. Cherry Street.
These two properties share traits such as visibility in their respective areas in the city and that they are properties that need immediate attention paid to them.
Tyree gave a final thought to finish his presentation by saying, “Knocking five off the list forced me to go out and evaluate more.”
Items that were discussed and voted to be placed on the agenda for the regular meeting to be held Tuesday, Aug. 8, included:
— To hold a public hearing regarding the city of Covington and Alleghany County Economic Development Revenue Sharing Agreement (a. To consider adoption of city of Covington and Alleghany County Economic Development Revenue Sharing Agreement; b.) To consider first reading of Ordinance O-17-11 regarding IDA Ordinance Amendment);
— Kathleen Frazier of Frazier Associates regarding final report on Nettleton Property Feasibility Study;
— Ingrid Barber, executive director of the Community Services Board, regarding approval of the 2017-2018 annual performance contract;
— To consider adoption of the minimum housing list;
— To consider an appointment to the Library Board;
— To consider an appointment to the TAP Board;
— To consider an appointment to the Ninth District Funding, Inc.;
— To consider an appointment to the Virginia Cares Board;
— To consider resolution regarding paving;
— To hold a closed session pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act Sec. 2.2-3711 (A)(5) regarding economic development.