LIVINGSTON – The Livingston Board of Aldermen will revisit in September the status of a Cedar Street house that it has condemned.
The board voted 4-0 to the extension after weighing the issue of a property owner “maintaining” a house against the rate of progress in repairing it.
The Fire Department condemned the house at 29598 S. Cedar St., Mayor David McCreary said.
The board voted on Dec. 10 to condemn it but has given the owner extensions to make improvements.
McCreary said registered letters were sent to Charles Lambert and other relatives to inform them of the condemnation as required by law, but they were returned “undeliverable and no forwarding address.”
“It is uninhabitable,” McCreary said, and the house is not connected to town utilities.
Electrical and plumbing permits would be needed, and inspections passed, before someone could live there, he said.
But how to define the legal section saying a property is being maintained challenged the board.
“We’ve done everything we can do on our part,” said Alderman Jessie “Dusty” Glascock. “He’s done work inside and some outside. As long as he maintains it, he is in control.”
Neighbor Ashley Porche Greco told the board she saw Lambert at the property on Wednesday, but he is not there every day.
She said rats are going in and out of the house and spreading to neighbors’ homes.
But Greco admitted that the yard is well-maintained.
“That yard is in tip top shape,” she said, but added the front door was open for a week and a half and anyone or anything could enter.
Glascock said Lambert has put some sheetrock in the house, but that would create a problem if electrical work is done, since an inspector won’t be able to examine it.
“I would never vote to tear a house down,” said Alderman Perry Edler, adding if someone is maintaining a house, the town has few options.
“He can’t live there without permits,” Glascock said, “but I can’t go along with tearing it down.”
Town Attorney Mike Lee said the town could give an extension to September and get in touch with Lambert and see what his plans are.
On Glascock’s motion, the board voted 4-0, with Edler, Duane May and Jimmy Nesom joining Glascock. Alderman Joey Sibley was absent.