Columbus still working with Beechwood property owner 

Published 11:04 pm Sunday, March 3, 2019

Residents press town for quicker action on dilapidated home 

COLUMBUS—Although the owner of a dilapidated home at 75 Beechwood West Drive, Columbus has been working to clean out the home for months, area residents and some council members say the owner is not taking care of the real problems, including broken windows and a hole in the floor.  

Columbus Town Council met last week and heard an update regarding the home’s progress from Town Manager Tim Barth and one resident who is concerned about an electrical fire since the power was restored without an inspection.  

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Barth said he and staff inspected the house on Feb. 1 to see what progress had been made. Barth said the owner has been through most of the house and bagged up likely 30 bags of clothes; some she is donating and others she is throwing out. The owner has also re-graveled the driveway, he said. Another inspection was scheduled for Friday.  

“I think she’s getting very close to the point where the house would be able to be sold,” Barth said. “There’s still things that need to be done, but it’s better than a lot of homes I’ve been in.” 

Barth said he’s made it clear that the big items need to be the priority, such as the broken windows and hole in the floor.  

Councilman Robert Williamson said it is the town’s responsibility to ensure the house is habitable, not clean.  

“There could be trash in it but it still be habitable,” Williamson said.  

Beechwood resident Susan Johann expressed concern over the electricity being turned back on in the home after many years of having no power without an inspection.  

Williamson said Johann’s concern about the electricity should be a real concern.  

“It should be inspected by the county building inspector and the fire marshal,” said Williamson.  

He also said the owner is not working on the windows and holes in the floor and the town’s ordinance is not about trash in the house. The house is not habitable because of code violations and the ordinance has a timeframe, he said.  

But councilwoman Margaret Metcalf said she thinks the owner is trying to get the work done and as long as she is trying, she thinks the town should be lenient.  

Williamson said gravel is irrelevant and trash is irrelevant. The things that matter are if the water works and the toilets flush, he said.  

“You’ve got to get it cleaned up or raccoons will keep coming in,” Metcalf said.  

Williamson responded that she can clean it all she wants, but as long as there’s a hole in the floor, raccoons are going to keep coming in.  

Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre said he agreed with Williamson. He said the town has been very lenient for months and keeps giving her more time than the town should have. He asked Barth to tell the owner to get the house up to code first, then she can do the cleaning.  

“I think we need to help her instead of criticize,” Metcalf said.  

McIntyre said Barth can explain to the owner about the ordinance. McIntyre also said he’s offered to take stuff to the landfill with his truck, but the owner has not called him for help.