The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

April 5, 2012

Taking action on abandoned homes

RIDGEWAY: Wolfe neighbors work to clean up Horan Road residence.

By Jim Krencik
The Journal-Register


Tim McPherson remembers with pride the home and neighbors from his youth, which is why the current state of the property south   of his parent’s long-time residence is so appalling.
“We were raised to keep a place neat and clean,” McPherson said.
But the neighboring Horan Road residence has been unoccupied for more than a year, McPherson says, and its condition is inhospitable.
Inside, insulation droops from a water damaged ceiling. Exterior walls are broken, with signs of animal infestation nearby.
Outside, the trailer added to the small structure sits on stacks of bricks — some have already collapsed. High grass and piles   of garbage cover the hill that leads to a creek on the property line.
“I was taken aback by the condition, I can’t imagine that what we saw transpired in just a year,” McPherson said after cautiously   walking through part of the building last week. “It makes you sick in the stomach. A shame that someone had to live like that.”
According to Ridgeway Codes Enforcement Officer Dan Wolfe, the last resident of the property, Darlene Kinney, died in 2009.   He said that he has not heard from Dennis Kinney, the owner of the property, since July 2011.
Wolfe’s records have Kinney residing in Corinth, a small town in northeast Mississippi. The phone number for Kinney in local   property records is disconnected. Wolfe expects that he will not hear a response to the violation notice he mailed last week.
Wolfe plans to use the town’s unsafe housing and abandoned property laws to clean up the property and demolish the decrepit   structure. He told the town board last month that a half-dozen abandoned properties are in need of being demolished, and unfortunately   another handful that would join that list if it weren’t for the continued use of the properties.
“These are structures with no redeeming value,” Wolfe told the board. “They need to be condemned, not auctioned.”
Wolfe would like to have the residence removed before it can be auctioned next year. Otherwise, he says, “the problem would   perpetuate.”
“It would go from abandoned to auctioned to abandoned again,” Wolfe said.
To get on the county auction, delinquent taxes must not be paid for two years and 10 months. That’s a long time for a building   to go from being rundown to an eyesore to unusable, and a wave from the housing meltdown that continues to crest.
“A lot of it is out of our hands,” Ridgeway Supervisor Brian Napoli said. “We’d love to come in the year after but it takes   two or three years for it to go up for auction. In the meantime, they get abandoned.”
But McPherson, who along with two siblings and his father went to the town’s last meeting to keep up attention on the issue,   said Wolfe and other town officials have done a good deed in their actions.
“Dan jumped right on the opportunity,” McPherson said. “Very helpful, he understands the pains we have because of the property.”
McPherson said he’d like to purchase the property when it is auctioned and add it onto the property his parents have called   home for generations. He has no major plans for it other than removing a black mark from the neighborhood.
“I don’t believe the parcel has enough to build on — it’s pie shaped, not big enough for a home,” McPherson said. “Don’t want   anything but trees to grow there.”
All that would remain at the place where his neighbors once happily lived is the memories.
“The neighbors were good people,” McPherson said. “It was a nice place.”