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Columbia considers house demolition

The city of Columbia is considering tearing down another property, a house in the central part of the city.

The homeowner of the vacant house and residents had a chance to speak Friday morning at an administrative hearing to determine if the property is a public nuisance.

“Whenever we identify one of those structures, our staff has to go out and investigate those cases and inspect those properties to see what the real dangers are, what the violations are,” said Leigh Britt, Columbia neighborhood services manager.

An administrative hearing officer will review the testimony and the property details to decide if the house is a public nuisance, which could take around month.

“The city’s intention is to make sure that we don’t have nuisance structures in our neighborhoods. That we don’t have places that might be unsafe for anybody that would enter or that would be attracting crime to a neighborhood,” said Britt.

City officials determine a public nuisance property by using ten criteria, but most deal with structural issues. If the structure does not pass the test, administrators will go in front of the City Council to request the structure be demolished.

“We also want property owners to voluntarily take care of the issue. That’s the ideal outcome is that the owner will be responsible to make the corrections as needed, or sell, or demolish on their own,” said Britt.

City administrators said the intention is to remove the nuisance property for safety reasons, and even if the city demolishes a house, it does not take ownership of the property.

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