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Rowan Street Eyesore Demolished

The sprawling, dilapidated house at 30 Rowan St., was demolished Friday.

The city's year-long effort to remove an abandoned, dangerous house at 30 Rowan St., ended Friday when the owner tore down the building.

"You have no idea how good this feels," said Rodney Stevenson, who grew up next door and was home a year ago in a storm when wind blew a piece of roof off 30 Rowan St. onto his nephew and niece's swing set next door.

The house was not only dangerous because pieces of it could blow off in the wind. Its doors had rotted off, its roof had rotted off, and the interior walls and floors were collapsing. Homeless people had lived there, and the city considered it one if its top blight problems.

"It seems like it took forever," said Danbury Building Official Leo Null, who saw the property through the demolition process at Danbury Superior Court. "It's down. We're pretty happy."

The property owner, Eugene Wendel, owes the city about $155,000 in utility costs, property taxes, interest on past debt and late fees. The city and Wendel are talking about that bill now.

The city has no plans in hand for any future development on the site.

"It's a pretty big lot, now that the house is gone. You can see it," Null said. "This will help that whole neighborhood."

bordwithbs August 27, 2012 at 10:14 AM
There MUST be a process that is faster than that! I'm sure if the property was in Aunt Hack the pressure on the building officials and the mayor would have been much greater to tear the house down. How long can a property owner not pay taxes, water and sewer charges, late fees, interest etc. before seizure takes place? Whose liability is it if the city fails to act to remove a known danger in a reasonable time? Now that the house is down, perhaps Habitat for Humanity will be interested in making the neighborhood whole again. I certainly hope the city presses the property owner to turn it over quickly so it doesn't become a dilapidated lot, filled with junk, tires and garbage.
Sylvia August 27, 2012 at 11:28 AM
A year is a very long time for this as bordwithbs said. Oddly enough, without a "before" picture its hard to even tell that this house was that "blighted." At least it had siding. We have a tar papered "house" on Great Plain next to (or on?) the Taylor Family Farm which is a disgrace. No one has touched it in at least a year. Fix it or tear it down!
Mark Langlois (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Hi Sylvia, I added a few older photos. I'm looking for more. The interior was pretty shot.
Jimmy Pursey August 27, 2012 at 02:34 PM
The dilapidated brownstones at the top of Library Place sat unoccupied and abandoned for two decades. DaSilva razed them only two years ago. How did this home get demolished so quickly?
Mark Langlois (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Thanks Jimmy. I thought it was pretty quick work, too. When I say this house was dilapidated, I mean bits had fallen off and on a different day, they could have killed children. The city took it seriously. On the DaSilva property, I don't remember if people had broken in or if it was falling into the street. If people weren't camping out it it or it wasn't falling down on people, it would be a lower priority. A whole other question arises about who pays to demolish it. Leo Null got the property owner to pay to tear down Rowan Street. He was trying to save the city money. The DaSilva property ownership wasn't clear until maybe five years ago. Everybody knew which family owned it, but from memory here, I think the family couldn't settle the father's estate until 20 years (no hyperbole there) after his death. They had to clear up tax issues and then divide the estate. That played a big role in the delay. Once those two issues were clear, work started happening on DaSilva properties again. (This is both a minefield, it's sensitive, and it's complicated. I have one opinion, and there are MANY more out there in Danbury.)
Jimmy Pursey August 27, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Thanks for the info, Mark.
Sid August 28, 2012 at 02:46 PM
The City of Norwalk tears dilapidated properties down and then sticks the owner with the bill. If that owner doesn't pay it they get a tax lien placed on the property and if thats not settled their property is put up for sale. Norwalk does a tax sale fairly regularly. Once a year or so. They get a 95% payoff on all past due bills and the remaining ones are auctioned off. Now why can't Danbury do something similar?
Jimmy Pursey August 28, 2012 at 04:17 PM
"why can't Danbury do something similar?" Because like every thing in Danbury...it's who you know.
Mark Langlois (Editor) August 28, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Danbury sells its unpaid tax bills periodically. It has also paid to tear down property or torn it down itself. In this case, the city was trying to avoid the expense of the lengthy process you described above. It took a year, but it only took a year. The owner paid and the house is gone.
concerndedparent August 28, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I beleive this property is "protected" because it is on a farm and falls under special rules.

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