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Kannapolis City Council tables request for demolition of house

KANNAPOLIS — For the second time this month, Kannapolis City Council on Monday tabled a request for demolition of a property at 209 Rice St.
Before the Feb. 10 meeting, a family member contacted Jeff Wells, deputy planning director, about the family’s desire to rehabilitate the structure. That family member, Anthony Brown of Summerfield, appeared before council Monday night.
Brown, a licensed general contractor, said it was important to his parents, who own the property, to fix up the home. Brown said that his father had served as executor of the estate, and that the home had belonged to his great aunt.
“As executor of the estate, he was advised not to put money into the property until we had established clear ownership,” Brown said. His family wants to make the home habitable, he said.
Brown said it was his family’s understanding that, as long as they were making progress on the property, they did not have to come to any hearings on the matter. That included the Feb. 10 meeting.
“My question is, are you going to fix the property up, and if you are, what’s your schedule?” asked Mayor Darrell Hinnant. “You’re a contractor. You know what it takes to get a property rehabilitated.”
Brown said he would have the work done well before the 90 days that was required by the city, and that he had already secured permission to work on the property.
City Attorney Walter M. Safrit advised council members that by tabling the issue, they would make a decision on the property at the June 9 meeting.
“It would be great to have a house that’s something to be proud of,” Councilman Ryan Dayvault noted, adding he knew many people in that neighborhood.
Brown said the family would pay the back taxes owed on the property. That and the rehabilitation plans satisfied council.
“We want this house fixed up,” Hinnant said. “The last thing we want to do is to use city money to tear down a building.”

In other business:
• Sherry Gordon, community development program administrator, presented guidelines for 2014-15 CDGB Nonprofit Grant Applications. In past years, the city has funded up to a dozen such grants at $5,000 a piece. This year, one or two grants will be awarded to maximize the impact of the funds. Gordon said that applications will be solicited from non-profit agencies focusing on the homeless, or agencies focusing on job creation or employment services.
Gordon said that homelessness has steadily increased in Cabarrus County over the past several years, from 122 in 2009 to 309 in January. Ed Hosack, executive director for Cooperative Christian Ministries, added that 137 of the 309 homeless population counted last month were children.
Gordon said he applauded the decision of a citizen’s advisory group to increase the amount of the grants.
“It’s hard to make a difference with $5,000,” he said.
• City Manager Mike Legg presented council members with a set of federal legislative priorities that will be presented to the city’s Congressional delegation during a trip to Washington, D.C., March 8-12. Hinnant said that the city had been successful in the past in receiving earmarked funds from the delegation, but that money is no longer available. He added that the city would investigate whether to continue future visits after the trip in March.
• On its consent agenda, council approved an agreement between the city and the N.C. Department of Transportation for work associated with the I-85 widening project from exit 55 to exit 63. The project will include sidewalks at Ridge Avenue and Lane Street, at a cost of $119,630 for the additional work. DOT will fund 70 percent, with the city reimbursing DOT for 30 percent or $35,889.
• In lieu of its March 10 regular meeting, City Council will hold a planning retreat on March 6 at Pity’s Sake Lodge in China Grove.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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