Virginia Beach, Va. - City Council is preparing to unleash bulldozers on a six-figure waterfront eyesore in the middle of one of the city's nicest neighborhoods, likely ending a legal skirmish that's stretched a decade.
City records show the home on Newbern Lane in Lynnhaven Colony has racked up more than 40 code violations. It's been abandoned 17 years. Nearly a decade ago, code inspectors declared it "unsafe." Neighbors say they've appealed to the civic league and the city to get rid of it.
"I've complained 10 years," said neighbor Bob Magnes, whose home is across the canal. "The plaster is falling in, there's mildew inside. We've had snakes, opossums, raccoons running in and out of the house. Roof rats. Norway rats."
Vines have swallowed the front porch and block the back door. In the garage are two vintage cars, covered in insulation from the collapsing roof. Plants a foot tall grow from the gutters.
City documents show the absentee owner, listed as Russell D. Gallup, Jr., has done nothing to repair the property. It is assessed by the city at $442,000, but is likely worth half that because of the house's condition. Neighbors told NewsChannel 3 he bought the house for his mother, but she didn't want it. It's been abandoned since.
The owner "failed to make any repairs, failed to appear in court, and has a capias issued for his arrest," city documents show.
City Council is preparing to declare the property blighted, authorize bulldozers to demolish it, and hire crews to replace the bulkhead. The cost to taxpayers will be $135,000, though the city hopes to get that money back if the property is sold.