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Houses face condemnation on Lanesville’s Main Street

One way or another, Lanesville Town Council plans to improve the view and public safety along the 7600 block of Main Street.
More than a month ago, the council notified two Lanesville residents of its intention to condemn homes they own on the block. The two homes are uninhabited.
Council members reached a contractual agreement in March with one of the property owners, Larry Gerth, who owns a dilapidated home at 7625 Main St.
He is to remove the structure by Nov. 14.
An apologetic Gerth said he will begin removing the house after he retires, which he plans to do the last week of April. He said the house is in front of his residence and an eyesore.
Gerth plans to do much of the work himself, though he said a bulldozer would be needed to remove the foundation. The town plans to review his progress on July 10.
‘I’m sorry it had to come to this,’ said Herb Schneider, town council president.
But Jerry Hess, who owns a shotgun-style home on the north side of the road at 7614 Main, challenged assertions that the home is unlivable and said it has historic value as an old toll house.
Hess attended the council’s April meeting Monday night with his attorney, Marian Pearcy.
The house has a new roof and gutters, and it is on a waiting list for new siding, Hess said, adding that the house is already livable. He pointed out that the town had not inspected the house.
Clerk-Treasurer Linda Smith said in an interview that the town did not inspect Gerth’s residence either. The intention, she said, was to avoid the expense unless necessary.
Pearcy and town attorney Gordon Ingle agreed on an inspection and chose Larry Crawford, an inspector with whom both had experience.
Hess is to reappear before the board after Crawford’s work is done. If that happens by April 28, Hess will be on the agenda for the May 8 meeting.