Couple buys home ready for demolition; unaware of city's plans

Knoxville man buys home ready for demolition; unaware of city's plans

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By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A couple wants to renovate the house they just bought in North Knoxville, the trouble is, the house is slated for demolition.  

The family said they knew it was in bad shape, but they didn't know it was in danger of meeting the wrecking ball.  

Wayland Raymond bought the home on 215 Dameron Ave on March 20, 2013 from Rock Properties, LLC.  

Raymond had even started to clean the property up, and said he knew the city condemned the property, but not that they planned to demolish it.

According to Raymond he was only made aware when KUB said they couldn't turn the power on because of the demolition order.  

The city said the home has been plagued with major structural issues, and nobody has lived there for years.

"It's been in disrepair, homeless people have been there. It's rotten, it's fallen down," said Larry Turner, who owns a business next to the property.

Wayland Raymond bought the house with the intention of making it his first ever home for his wife and newborn daughter.  Raymond is a self-described handy-man with his own home repair business, who wanted to make it livable.  

Raymond plans to spend up to $15,000 in repairing the home. 

"20 years from now, I wanted some place where my daughter can do what she wants with it. It's a family community that can be shaped up really nice," Raymond said.  

But despite communicating with the city before he bought the home, Raymond was never made aware of the order issued on August 21, 2012 to demolish the property if not fixed within 60 days.  

The order ruled the structure was out of compliance with codes, an attractive nuisance, and the structure was dangerous and injurious to the safety and occupants of the public.  

Raymond said he was only told there were code violations that needed be fixed.   He says a structure nearby was demolished, and workers told him that his home was next on the list to be demolished.  

Raymond even slept on a mattress last weekend to make sure nothing happened. 

Raymond told 6 News the owner with Rock Properties LLC. did not tell him the house was going to be demolished.   

The owner with Rock Properties could not be reached for comment, but Raymond said the city should have made him aware of the demolition order. 

"I actually blame the city, in all reality, if they had actually divulged the information ahead of time when I told them I was planning on buying the property; I would have stopped it then," said Raymond.  

Raymond said he was told he had 14 days to put together a construction plan for the home's rehabilitation or it would be demolished.  

City of Knoxville Communications Manager Jesse Mayshark said Raymond can meet with Knoxville Public Service Director David Brace to look at Raymond's construction plan for the home.  

Brace oversees appeals of properties set to be demolished. Mayshark said no action will happen until Raymond meets with Brace.  

If an extension is granted, it will be for a set period of time during which he will need to show real progress toward rehabilitating the house, according to Mayshark.  

Mayshark said it's not unusual for people to purchase properties scheduled for demolition.  

Before being sold to Raymond, The property on 215 Dameron Ave was purchased by Rock Properties LLC on September 19, 2012, less than a month after the home was condemned. 

The city has the right to bill the owners of properties that are demolished.

If Raymond's home is demolished, city could place a lien on the home and force him to pay the demolition costs. 

Raymond said that could bankrupt him.

"It would postpone my plans with wife and daughter for a decade. I'm already 30," Raymond said.

In 2012, the property owner of the historic South High School was billed for the demolition costs after the high school had been neglected for years.

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