AUGUSTA — City councilors expressed support for a staff recommendation that three vacant, run-down buildings should be deemed dangerous buildings, potentially clearing the way for the city to have them demolished.

The properties are a former commercial garage at 195 Mount Vernon Ave., and residential homes at 57 South Grove St. and 7 South Grove St.

“With each of these, we’ve given the owners time, in some cases years, to make improvements and nothing has happened,” Robert Overton, director of code enforcement, told city councilors Thursday.

Overton, and Matt Nazar, director of development services, said officials from the codes office have tried to work with the owner of 7 South Grove St., on the corner of South Grove and King streets, for years to bring the property up to code. But it has continued to deteriorate to the point it has become a dangerous building. They said the city has received numerous complaints about the home. The owner has told city officials he is renovating, but he has refused to apply for a building permit.

Overton said the owner of 57 South Grove has not responded to the city’s messages expressing concerns about the condition of the small home and he said “the condition of the building is such at this point, with a large hole in the roof and back wall, that the building may collapse this winter.” He and Nazar said the city gets complaints about the property from neighbors regularly, and the building does not appear to be salvageable.

He also said the owner of 195 Mount Vernon Ave. took down a portion of the building that was an immediate hazard to the public, but a portion remains standing and the owner has not submitted plans to the city to repair or demolish the rest of the building.

According to city assessing records, the listed owners are: ABC Fuel Inc., 195 Mount Vernon Ave., which is valued by the city for tax purposes at $87,000; Kevin W. Thomas, 57 South Grove, which is valued at $33,400; and Charlie T. Irving Jr., 7 South Grove, which is valued at $73,000.

Thursday councilors discussed, but did not vote, on declaring the buildings dangerous, because Thursday was an informational meeting. Councilors could vote on whether to do so at their business meeting next week.

A public hearing on the buildings is planned for next Thursday’s council meeting.

City Manager William Bridgeo said once councilors hold a public hearing and vote to declare the buildings dangerous, the city could have the buildings removed and seek reimbursement for demolition costs from the property owners, including by placing liens on the properties.

State statute allows municipalities to have buildings deemed to be dangerous torn down. To deem a building dangerous, officials must “find that the building is structurally unsafe, unstable or unsanitary; constitutes a fire hazard; is unsuitable or improper for the use or occupancy to which it is put; constitutes a hazard to health or safety because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment; or is otherwise dangerous to life or property.”

Ward 4 Councilor Eric Lind said it appeared the two homes could, if they were to collapse, fall over their property lines.

“I think we need to get rid of all three of these buildings,” Lind said.

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