City to demolish house under nuisance ordinance

COVINGTON - The city of Covington is preparing to demolish a dilapidated house on Cheney Drive, the first building to be torn down following the 2007 passage of a revamped nuisance ordinance.

Located in the Green Acres neighborhood at 7135 Cheney Drive, the back portion of the home, along with part of the roof and floor system, has collapsed, according to building inspector Brett Reed.

The city has been pursuing demolition of the house since last summer. In November, a condemnation order was granted in Municipal Court, and the homeowner, Herman Tuggle, was given a deadline to comply.

After Tuggle failed to comply with the order, Municipal Judge C. David Strickland issued a second order to allow the city to proceed with demolition.

The City Council approved Monday night a bid of $7,000 from Baker Restoration for demolition and grading of the site.

Tuggle is required to pay all demolition, court and administrative costs, as well as appraisal fees. If he does not pay, the city will secure a lien on his property.

Reed said the Cheney Drive property was one of the first to go through the process set up by the city's new nuisance ordinance.

"Now it should be easier or smoother bringing housing situations into courts to get some of these things cleaned up or taken care of," Reed said.

The ordinance gives property owners fewer extensions on compliance deadlines and makes it easier for the city to prosecute violators, primarily by allowing citations to be served to the property rather than the property owner.

The ordinance also sets requirements for grass height and junk vehicle storage.

Property owners are prohibited from letting grass and weeds grow taller than 12 inches high and from parking a junk vehicle on their property unless it is within an enclosed structure or is parked in the rear yard and is fully covered so that no part of the vehicle is visible. Storage of outdoor parts also is prohibited.

Reed said 85 to 90 percent of property owners have complied with cleanup orders after receiving a warning letter.

At least two or three other houses are in enough disrepair to merit demolition, Reed said, adding that the city is pursuing court orders on those.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.