Norwalk City Council took a step toward cleaning up the city Tuesday night by appropriating money to demolish an abandoned house. Still, council hopes the property sells before the city has to take action.
"What we want is the teeth to move forward," Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch said. She explained that the property on Pleasant Street has been a concern for some time, but might be sold soon so the new owner would be responsible for fixing up the home.
"This house has been a nightmare for these folks," Lesch said, referring to the neighbors on Pleasant Street.
Neighbors attended the council meeting. "We are right on top of the disaster," said Ed Goble, of 18 N. Pleasant St. "Out of respect for our elders, we just put up with it," until the owner of 16 N. Pleasant (Margaret Ryan) died about two years ago.
The legislation passed Tuesday allows the city to spend up to $16,000 to demolish the house at 16 Pleasant St. Lesch said the city could recoup the money because demolition costs will be added to the tax bill for the property.
"We're just putting the wheels in motion so if it doesn't sell, the last thing we would do is demolish it ... we have an option," Norwalk Councilman Dwight Tkach said. "It takes a while to get the wheels in motion.
"It's a hazard. If somebody is willing to buy it and renovate it, we would like that. According the neighbors, that doesn't seem feasible."
Tkach said if the house did have to be torn down, that wouldn't happen until all other options have been exhausted. "I look at it I sure wouldn't want to be living next door to the house," he said. "It was something we had to do."
Councilman Chris Mushett called it an "unfortunate situation"
"We had heard it would cost $40,000 to $60,000 just to do the cleanup to make it acceptable for somebody to live there," Mushett said. "I would like to see somebody fix it ... from what I have heard I would have to say yes (it will have to be demolished)."
Lesch said she knows of several houses around the city that might be eligible for city intervention. "There are about a dozen places that have been vacant for years," Lesch said. "We want to begin to take action. This affects the property value of their neighbors."
In other business, the city announced a household recycling day for from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 22. Residents can bring recyclables to the parking lot behind the county building at 180 Milan Ave.
Council meets again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for a work session.