9 homes up for faster demolition with Kanawha Co. program

207 homes in the county submitted for complaints to review
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:59 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Not only are abandoned properties an eyesore for neighbors but they can also be safety hazards. A new program this year in Kanawha County is working to bring down some of those buildings faster. Nine homes were approved for demolition through the program by the Kanawha County Commission’s Redevelopment Authority.

Getting rid of dilapidated homes has been Commissioner Lance Wheeler’s priority.

“We get individuals who are going into these properties who don’t own it,” said Wheeler. “We see these properties burst into flames.”

Flames were shooting out of a home that is on the list for demolition along McCubbin Dr. It scared neighbor, Lindsay Emmite and her family last week.

“Last week whenever we had all the forest fires it kept catching fire,” said Emmite. “There was a family that lived here it caught fire last year, they just kind of left the house there.”

Wheeler said there are 207 homes in the county submitted for complaints to review. When a property is up for review and it has to be demolished the county can go through the court. It would be up to the property owner to pay for the demolitions and until they do the property cannot be sold or redeveloped creating a block for landowners. Wheeler said those fees are not paid back to the county.

“How many of these loans were actually paid back to the county? 95% are not paid back,” said Wheeler.

With this program, if the owner chooses, the county and the owner each pay 50% of the demolition cost. Immediately after the demolition the property can be sold or redeveloped.

Wheeler said normally it takes about 18 months to demolish a home through the court system but the program allows the home to be demolished within a few months. Wheeler said this helps taxpayers, opens up space for development, and helps communities get rid of abandoned homes faster.

In order to submit a complaint on a home or if a property owner would like to use the program, contact the Planning and Development Office at the Kanawha County Commission at (304) 357-0570.

Wheeler said this program is not available for residents in Charleston or South Charleston.