NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A Newport News home abandoned long ago has created an eyesore for neighbors, who are more than ready for a change.
“It’s like living in a jungle,“ neighbor Terry Sumrell said.
A jungle in the middle of a neighborhood — that’s how neighbors describe a home on Bruton Avenue.
“It is just one holy mess that needs to be taken care of,“ added neighbor Karyn Buhrman.
The home has been empty for more than a decade. The woman who lived there passed away in 2001, and over time vegetation has grown. It’s bad enough that it’s an eyesore, but there are other issues.
“We’ve had two or three dead possums in the maybe the past two or three weeks,” Buhrman said. “Of course rats, mice, fleas and ticks.”
Neighbors say they’ve called city time and time again and want something to be done.
“All codes can do is just take care of the grass, which is a small portion of the yard itself,“ Buhrman said.
10 On Your Side spoke with city officials who said crews have been cutting the grass since 2005. The problem is the city doesn’t own the property. It still belongs to previous owner. Officials said if the house was structurally unsound, they could condemn it, but it’s not. So, right now the city’s hands are tied.
City Officials said since no one is paying taxes on the home, technically they can take possession, but that process has yet to take place. At one time, there was a law firm which would go though the steps of selling delinquent properties, but the city’s contract with firm ended two years ago. The city said negotiations with another firm are currently underway.
“it is a nightmare,” Buhrman said. “It is horrible. That’s why we decided to take another step and contact WAVY TV 10 On Your Side and hope we can get this out.“