Reed reports on Wood dilapidated properties

PARKERSBURG – John Reed, Wood County compliance officer, said numerous complaints have been reported on two properties at least one of which has been abandoned.

Reed showed county commissioners photos of the property at 971 Staunton Ave., Parkersburg. He said complaints on this property have been received for two years.

“This property is visible from Route 47 and we have spent two years trying to locate a Virginia Beach man who is listed as the property owner. The taxes on the property were paid up to last year. The DOH surveyed the right-of-way and determined it goes through about one-half of the front porch of this abandoned house. The upstairs is falling in. We have not officially condemned it yet,” Reed said.

Under the county’s Abandoned/Dilapidated Building ordinance, safety and health complaints regarding rural properties are forwarded to enforcement officers and county engineer Bill Brown, who investigate and report their findings to the enforcement committee. The committee can recommend the case be brought before the commission.

Property owners are notified in writing and the property owner can request a hearing. If the owner fails to comply with cleanup requests, commissioners can seek bids for repairs, demolition, removal and cleanup. A lien can be placed against the property so the county can recoup the cost of cleanup.

Reed showed the commissioners photos of a trailer, which he said is also located on the property, and is full of salvage.

“There is a lot of trash laying around and a storage shed that’s falling down,” Reed said.

According to county records, $139 is owed in taxes on the property. “It will be delinquent as of April,” said Mark Rhodes, with the county finance office. If the tax is not paid, the property would be put on the auction block in November.

“We have received no response to all the letters mailed out to the property owner at the address we have for her, we have had no contact with her at all,” Reed said.

“If we wait until the sale, the new property owner would be responsible for it,” commissioner Blair Couch noted. “I would support coming back in the spring, we could go ahead and condemn it now.”

“We continue to get calls on this property,” Reed said.

“It is an eyesore, we need to get it taken care of as soon as possible,” said commissioner President Wayne Dunn.

The commissioners agreed to have Reed pursue condemnation proceedings on the property.

In another case, Reed said had been receiving complaints for about two years on rental property owned by Ron Newman at 114 Elmwood Heights Road off West Virginia 31.

“When we were first contacted about this property, it was vacant. The foundation is slipping. The property owner assured me he was having the foundation repaired and the porch reattached. Then we found out repairs were not made and the property had been rented out. I was contacted by a real estate agent who had been asked to list the property. The realtor said the ceiling and floors have moved, there are gaps on all four sides, the floor is tilted and backporch has slid. The realtor refused to list it,” Reed said, noting the agent said there was a renter in the property.

The property owner could not be reached Monday for comment, Reed said the owner is reportedly in California.

The commissioners agreed to have Reed send a letter to the last known address of the property owner seeking a hearing before the county commission. The letter is to be sent out within the next 30 days.