Neighborhoods filled with blighted properties and unhappy homeownersJun 24th, 2013 | By Candace Griffin | Category: News
“How long is long enough?”
At Tuesday’s council meeting issues arose during a public hearing, that would determine whether or not the parish could proceed with an involuntary demolition of a house at 62 E. Claiborne Square, Chalmette. The owner of the property, Joe Rigby, has neglected to do the necessary maintenance on his property, and it has become an eye sore for the surrounding residents.
Rigby was supposed to appear before the Council to defend his actions, but neglected to do so— in his place was his attorney, Daniel Abel.
“He has the same respect for us as he does for his neighbors,” said Councilman Richard Lewis of District C.
Rigby’s attorney fought the Council on their decision that the house should be demolished, because the property is part of a pending lawsuit that involves the wrongful removal of a trailer from the site and an alleged theft.
The Council found this to be irrelevant and wished to proceed with the demolition of this house that has been grossly neglected for the past several years.
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” said Guy McInnis, Councilman at Large East. “It’s a total disregard for the neighbors.”
Abel refused to drop his argument in favor of keeping the property, and continued to argue in favor of Rigby, providing no real evidence or information to support his case to the council.
“You’re a blood-sucking attorney,” said Councilman Nathan Gorbaty of District B. “You‚’re the only one fighting for this property, everyone on this panel wants it gone!”
After a long, heated argument the Council with Abel, the Council decided to take a vote on whether or not the structure should be demolished. As expected, all Councilmen voted in favor of the demolition which is set to take place on, or around July 18.
Also in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting was retired teacher, Ms. Rosemary Gioia. She was there to speak in favor of demolishing a different structure at 2901 Golden Drive, which is next to her own property. She, and her fellow neighbors have been fighting for years to get this property torn down noting that is a safety hazard and an eye sore, but their pleas were met with no action.
“How long is long enough?” exclaimed Gioia.
The Council sympathized with Gioia, but deferred any action until the next scheduled meeting.
The Council members recognize that abandoned properties are hazardous to the community, and said they will try to approve as many demolitions as they can to help out the residents of St. Bernard.