Friday, January 18, 2008

Location, Location, Location

I drove into my driveway last night not before pausing briefly to curse whomever it was who was trying (unsuccessfully) to block it again, shut off the car and looked up Jesus Christ! the house behind mine was gone.

I was in shock. I looked up and the house was gone. Normally when I look up I note how the little trees are doing growing in the rain spouts. It had quite the little thicket growing. I had been watching them grow since they were just weeds, the next thing I knew they were saplings and now they are gone, along with the house. Not really “gone”, its been turned in a pile of debris. Dogger and I had been planning on going to the park. We did not go to the park. We went instead to the pile.

The basement is still intact so it was making the debris field seem taller. I guessed that they aren’t through yet, that they will be back. If they are going to go around willy-nilly tearing down hulks, why didn’t they tear down the drug dealer’s house? It stood there for months collecting squatters and shedding roaches and it still stands there as some sort of paean to urban blight.

I called the city.

Did you know that the city can tear down a house without notifying the neighbors? Yes, yes they can! The city hires a contractor and the contractor takes down the structure. Neither the contractor nor the city is under any obligation to notify anyone that this is going to happen. I was shocked. And annoyed.

I said something about the asbestos that was no doubt throughout the house. It and the rest of the neighborhood were built in the late forties and early fifties and I imagine that there is asbestos in the homes, mine included. The woman with the city assured me that they contractors must remove any asbestos from a structure before they raze it. You would think I would have noticed asbestos abatement. It’s a pretty big deal.

There were Christmas decorations among the rubble, books, plates, toys, and a shoe. They did a hell of a job of clearing out the space before they took it down. But that’s par for the course, there was an abandoned house Dogger and I passed everyday on our walk, one day it too was a giant pile of curtains and shower cleaner and shoes and the couch and everything else. The next day the pile was gone and the ground was seeded and a month later you couldn’t tell there had ever been a house there. The woman at the city told me that they would do the same with the place behind me. Wowser. Thanks for the heads up City of Raleigh, I’m feeling the love.

They must notify the neighbors if a house on their street is going for auction, but they don’t have to tell the neighbors a house is being demolished? For auction they send out a formal letter and include a map and applicable phone numbers and dates and everything – because we the neighbors legally have to be notified that one absentee landlord is going to be replaced with another absentee landlord – This they are legally obligated to inform us, in advance.

That they are going to demolish a structure ten feet from your back window? Nah. Not required. You know, if I bother to attend this evenings ACORN meeting, I’m going to bring it up. I might not go though, the guy called me to tell me the meeting might be about the schools and held at their office instead of being a general meeting held at the rec center. I know where the rec center is and I don’t know where their office is. I see it as a two strikes against them for this meeting 1) not relevant to me unless Wake County gets into the dog training industry and 2) I’m not going out searching for anything. It’s dark, it’s cold and I have DVDs calling. It’s not much of a contest. (Updated, I skipped the ACORN meeting)

That house was more than an attractive nuisance. It was a giant shield against the busy street and the lights from the DMV and the sun and the wandering whackos... All of a sudden I’m exposed. Now I have to worry about cars ending up in my back yard. Thank You City of Raleigh!

I had been hoping that the property had been sold and maybe something else was going in. Grass is going in.

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