news Unsafe Properties20a.jpg

This is a file photo of one of the unsafe properties in the Hobbes Valley addition on East 36th St. that had been abandoned, then burnt by arsonists that the County Commissioners are starting to address.

Madison County officials are taking action to purge the county of problem properties.

On Tuesday, the Madison County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing to deal with unsafe buildings. It marks the first time commissioners have exercised their jurisdiction over nuisance properties in such a fashion.

“This is our first time,” board attorney Jerry Shine told the public, as he and Planning Director Cory Wilson worked through procedural matters. “Just hang on, folks. We’re going to get it.”

Citizen outrage over neglected homes in the Hoppes Valley Addition (located off East 38th Street, not far from Valley Grove Elementary School) initially spurred the board into action. At least five properties were neglected or abandoned, setting the stage for arson attacks and illegal dumping.

Tuesday’s hearing dealt with three Hoppes Valley properties, located at the following addresses:

  •  4010 E. 36th St.
  •  4006 E. 36th St.
  • 4005 E. 37th St.

The nuisance properties were identified by county planner Wilson. Title work was then performed to determine owners, lien holders and other interested parties connected to the property, and each one notified by certified mail of the hearing. On Tuesday, those parties got their last chance to clean up their property, before forfeiting it to the county.

Attorney Dan Davisson attended the hearing on behalf of his clients, former owners of the property at 4010 E. 36th St.

“My clients do not own the property,” Davisson said. “They sold it some years ago to two gentlemen named Beaman.”

Davisson added that fire had damaged the home on the third Sunday of the month for three consecutive months. He provided the contract of sale, saying that the buyers never registered the title with the county. The board relieved Davisson’s clients of any financial responsibility, instead, putting the new owners on the hook. Shine said the property will likely go to tax sale, where it will be bought by an adjacent landowner at a reduced rate.

Commissioners voted to affirm Wilson’s recommendation that each of the three buildings is unsafe. Demolition bids from five companies were opened at the hearing and are expected to be awarded after an adjournment.

In May, Commissioner Paul Wilson, D-South District, asked the County Council to appropriate $50,000 in funding culled from the county option income tax, also referred to as COIT, to fund the unsafe building fund to pay for such demolitions.

Contact Justin Schneider: 640-4809,

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