THE OWNER OF THIS VACANT HOUSE located at 1097 Bondvilla Drive NE says the house is not in such bad condition it cannot be repaired and rented, but city leaders have different thoughts.
A Decatur County resident appeared before the Cairo City Council to complain the city is too harsh in dealing with dilapidated properties here.
Bryan Doss, the owner of several substandard structures here, met with city leaders during the council’s regular meeting Monday night.
Doss has appealed a decision of Municipal Court Judge Joshua C. Bell to have a vacant residence at 1097 Bondvilla Drive N.E. razed.
“Y’all are very aggressive on tearing down houses, more so than anywhere else around,” Doss said.
Doss also alleged that the city code is not in compliance with state law, an accusation that Cairo city attorney Thomas L. Lehman strongly denied.
In fact, Lehman said the city code is almost word-for-word from the state statute.
Doss also complained that in Cairo when a structure has been declared unsafe a notice is not posted on the front door of the property as is done in Bainbridge and other municipalities.
According to Doss, the property on Bondvilla Drive is not in “bad shape.” He said the vacant residence has floor joists and roof trusses that are in “fine” shape. He acknowledged some electrical upgrades would be necessary and that would be his biggest expense in bringing the home to code.
“I don’t understand the motivation to tear a house down. The house is not in bad shape,” Doss said.
Cairo city manager Chris Addleton took exception with remarks made by Doss and sought to lay out the timeline for the council and the public. According to Addleton, Doss was first contacted about the Bondvilla property on Jan. 15; then again on May 22; on June 8 he was consulted with by members of the building department about code violations and a timeline to bring the structure in compliance; the case was taken to court in August and Doss did not appear; it was back in municipal court earlier this month and Judge Bell issued his order for the structure to be razed.
“What did you do from January to November to rectify the situation?” Addleton asked.
“I didn’t do much,” Doss admitted. He said he thought the main issue was the high grass and the busted windows. He said he got the grass cut and the windows boarded up and was willing to pay a $1,000 fine, but he opposed the structure being razed.
Cairo Mayor Howard Thrower III, said the city was enforcing its code and would continue to do so aggressively. Over the last several years, the city has forced 300 dilapidated structures to be razed, according to the mayor.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas told Doss that once a judge clears the way for the city to proceed with abating the nuisance the structure would be razed that day. Douglas said that Doss is the owner of two other properties that are in worse shape than the Bondvilla Drive residence.
“This council has pushed our code enforcement personnel to enforce the code and that’s what we plan to do. You wouldn’t want to live next to these houses and our residents don’t either,” Douglas said.
“You could have avoided this in January, let’s move on,” said Councilman Jerry Cox.