Panel keeps houses on condemnation list

The Pine Bluff City Council’s Development and Planning Committee, meeting Tuesday at the civic center, voted unanimously to keep an empty, dilapidated house at 901 West 27th Avenue on the inspection and zoning department’s condemnation list.

The house is owned by Clifford Flowers, who told the panel that he has twice had the house’s windows and doors boarded in an unsuccessful effort to prevent vandalism. Flowers took issue with a finding that the house had been “neglected.”

Flowers said the West 27th Avenue house is the only one of the more than 30 residences he owns that is in such a condition. He said he feels it is unfair for the city — which has already accepted demolition bids — to seek to raze the structure. He said he pays taxes on the house and the city should provide security necessary to prevent vandalism there.

Flowers requested a 90-day grace period in which he could attempt to sell the property, but Chief Housing Inspector Mitzi Ruth responded with a 14-day offer. Flowers said he wanted to see paperwork supporting the city’s stance and action on the matter.

Alderman Charles Boyd, the committee chairman, and the other panelists — Alderman Lloyd Holcomb Jr. and Steven Mays — then agreed that the property would remain condemned.

Flowers called the decision “totally unreasonable.”

The committee also decided to keep an empty, dilapidated house at 802 West 27th Avenue under a condemnation order issued in August 2012.

Maurice Jackson, owner of the house, obtained a construction permit from the city in the past but Ruth said the home is now in worse condition. Jackson said a neighbor to the house had recently stolen materials from it. He said he had advised the police department of the thefts, but was unable to provide a copy of a police report on the matter.