Council proceeds with apartment demolition

Jan. 14, 2013 @ 12:04 AM

The City Council last week reaffirmed a previous decision to order the demolition of six condemned apartment buildings on Meredith Street.
In a unanimous vote, council once again ordered the 24 units torn down after finding that the property owner, Schwarz Properties LLC of Asheboro, had abandoned the intent to bring the apartments up to code.
The vote followed an October 2012 order adopted by the council that gave Schwarz Properties LLC 90 days to come up with a plan for repairing the buildings. The order expired earlier this month.
“When you take into consideration how long this has been going on and how patient council has been with them and how many notices they’ve been given and how many times they totally ignored you, didn’t have anyone show up or made empty promises, I think we have strong legal grounds to proceed on,” said City Attorney JoAnne Carlyle.
The city first took action against the properties in 2010, when council ordered them closed and vacated due to minimum housing code violations.
“I think we probably should start removing them because we have been dealing with them for years now. We’ve got to at least send a message and let them know we are serious about it,” said Councilman Foster Douglas.
Council considered ordering one building demolished at a time, which could limit the city’s exposure in case Schwarz decided to challenge the demolition in court.
“I know the Schwarz brothers. ... I think if they want to make a point of this, money’s no object for them. They can make a point of this, just for principle,” said Councilman Jim Davis.
Council ultimately decided to tear down all six, the cost of which is expected to be about $85,000. Factoring in the cost of removing asbestos from the buildings could push the total price tag to $110,000 to $120,000.
The city’s costs will be placed as liens against the properties.