Calling it a two-family house doesn't seem right. A barracks, perhaps. A box, a cracked shell, but this box came out of its birthday wrappings a whole long time ago. It isn't new.
A year ago, a heavy wind and rain storm blew part of the roof off 30 Rowan St., onto the neighbor's back yard and their swing set. As luck and foul weather would have it, the children were safe inside their home next door. No one was hurt.
Today, in accordance with the city's request, a six-foot fence surrounds the abandoned buiding.
Back in June 2011 when the debris had just landed, the Fire Department showed up, the Building Department showed up. The UNIT didn't have to. They've been visiting 30 Rowan St. for years.
"I was up in my room right there and the crash was so loud, I thought the whole building collapsed," said Rodney Stevenson, who lives at 34 Rowan St., next door to a long abandoned building with leaks throughout its roof.
On June 23, 2011, no safety fence surrounded the building. The abandoned building was open to the elements. It had rotting floors and debris inside. All of its windows had been boarded up, but its doors rotted off. One was leaning in the doorway unattached to the hinges, and the second had no veneer. Both were open to the elements or anyone who cared to visit. Inside a couch is torn, and another room is full of debris. The ceilings are open to the roof, and the roof has large holes in it. Out back are a washer and dryer, a box spring, cardboard boxes and an abandoned camper truck.
Annette Anderson, Stevenson's sister, started calling the city and property owner for help.
"They're saying the building has got to go," Anderson said. The family has lived on Rowan Street for more than 40 years, and the brother and sister remember when the building was a candy shop, dress shop and glass design shop. "They'd boarded it up because the glass was starting to fall in our back yard."
The Building Department started a court action in 2011, and while that seems like a long time ago, numerous delays and steps were taken in the past year.
Danbury Building Official Leo Null said Wendel asked the city for time to have an engineer study the building to decide if it was worth fixing or not.
In the court filing is the result of Wendel's research on repairing the house.
"I was attempting to do feasibility study of renovating building. Structural engineer has determined it could be renovated, but suggested might be cost prohibited and suggested replacing with modular," Gene Wendel wrote on paperwork filed with this case on January 11, 2012.
The case came to a head in May, when the property owner, Eugene Wendel, agreed to tear down the building by June 15. Wendel could not be reached for comment.
"Defendant agrees to apply for a demolition permit immediately and to demolish the two-family house at 30 Rowan Street, Danbury, CT, by June 15, 2012, in accordance with the requirements of the state Building Code," reads the court judgment.
The finances of this parcel and its future are somewhat doubtful. Danbury's Tax Office reports the property taxes are owed since 2007 for a total sum of $22,473.17. It also reports, however, the water and sewer fees, plus water and sewer liens, plus water and sewer interest charges on the property stand at $155,147.75. That means, before the cost of demolition, the city is owed $177,620.92. Danbury Realtors joke that a downtown building lot approved for two units might be worth something, but, on the other hand, in this housing market, they also might be required to pay someone to buy it. No one thinks it is worth nearly $200,000. Maybe $50,000.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said the city will lien the property for the past due amount. If the landowner demolishes the building and removes the debris, one cost estimate is $10,000 for that task. The property owner is out nearly $190,000.