Cumberland Times-News

Local News

December 9, 2012

City officials showing ‘sensitivity’ in handling fire-affected properties

‘We realize that a fire is a very traumatic event,’ says administrator Jeff Rhodes

CUMBERLAND — Cumberland officials battle against blighted properties to keep the Queen City shining, but when it comes to properties ravaged by fire, a softer view is taken.

“We realize that a fire is a very traumatic event, as anyone who has experienced one surely knows,” said City Administrator Jeff Rhodes. “Dealing with the financial repercussions and the insurer can also add to the difficulty in resolving these issues. Recognizing that, city staff handles these instances with greater sensitivity than a typical blighted property.

“However, we also recognize the adverse impact a fire-damaged property has on neighbors and neighborhoods if repair or removal takes too long, so we try to stay on top of these properties and offer what assistance and encouragement we can to expedite the repair or removal,” he said.    

Rhodes detailed the status of several fire-affected city properties, as related by the city’s community development officials, including:

• 212-214 Charles St. — The owner was cooperative and demolished the property on his own accord without the need for code enforcement. Demolition has been completed and the lot next to a commercial property belonging to the same owner has been graded.

• Estella Street — Demolition completed by the owner. The foundation was repurposed to create a deck for the adjacent family-owned property.

• Harrison Street — Extensive communication was necessary to prompt the insurance company/owner to begin demolition. The demolition is complete but additional work is necessary to reface the exposed wall and create a parking area for the remaining units.

• Williams Street — The owner/insurance company was cooperative and completed the demolition in a timely manner. Plans are in the works for possible outdoor recreation associated with the hobby shop.

• 627-629 Maryland Ave. — The city is in the process of acquiring 627 Maryland. The process is nearing completion and has been challenging for legal staff due to title issues regarding liens. Owners of 629 Maryland have been very cooperative and are willing to partner with the city for demolition. Preliminary plans have ensued, which could include redevelopment of the site.

“Each fire-damaged property tends to have a somewhat different set of circumstances involving the ownership, mortgage, insurer and financial capability of the owner. We recognize this and try to identify those challenges to help work through repair or removal as quickly as possible,” said Rhodes.

1
Text Only
Local News
Facebook
Must Read
News related video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Jury Awards Ventura $1.8M in Defamation Case Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping