Buildings must be repaired, or razed

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 31, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-The properties of 812 and 816 Arcola Road must be habitable by April 27 or legal action must be taken. This was the decision handed down by the Demopolis City Council Thursday night to property owner and councilman Charles Jones Sr. The motion was part of an effort by the cities Citizen’s Task Force to clean up the cities image.

City Attorney Rick Manley said rundown properties identified by the task force must be taken care of before they can move on.

“We have been waiting on Mr. Jones and he has not done anything with his property since the last time we talked to him,” Manley said. “We can’t go forward as a community if we are going to allow somebody who is not doing it.”

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Resolution 2005-33 states it is the purpose of the task force to find property owners and determine if properties are deteriorated, dilapidated or uninhabitable. The resolution further states if the buildings are not brought up to the city’s building code must be torn down, destroyed or removed from the property.

According to Jones, they have begun work on the property, it is just taking longer than expected.

“I have been in the process of correcting one of the properties,” Jones said. “It has not been completed, but it is in the process of being taken care of. We are under construction, we have poured the foundation, we have done the plumbing and all this has been taken care of.”

The properties have been on the city’s list for some time. However, Jones said they have done some work on the property.

“It is under construction and it is in progress,” Jones said. “We have done what we agreed to, we just haven’t finished it.”

The intent was not to make an issue of Jones property, Manley said. They simply wanted the buildings repaired so they could move forward on other properties.

“They are uninhabitable buildings that have not been repaired and we are asking you to either tear the property down or make it livable,” Manley said. “It has been months and months and we just want to see something done.”

Jones’ son, Charles Jones Jr., met with Manley, the building inspector and the mayor six months ago who established the project should be done in 60 days. However, there was confusion as to whether the established date was 60 days after the meeting or 60 days after beginning the project.

It was suggested that, since it takes roughly 120 days to build a house, this would be a fair time to complete repairs. Since there were two properties the two sides agreed six months would be a more realistic target date. Jones said it was difficult for him to put an exact date on when the project could be completed because his son was working on it. He also said they had several other projects in the works.

In the end Jones agreed six months should be sufficient time to complete repairs.

“I have other projects to work on,” Jones said. “I can’t just stay on that one piece of property. I can have it done within six months.”

The final motion, which passed with five members voting in favor and Jones abstaining, stated Jones must have the properties inhabitable by April 27 with no extensions. If Jones were to sell the properties the motion would apply to the new owner as well.