DOVER, Del.- There are more than 300 registered abandoned or vacant homes in Dover. While most of them are taken care of, many are left to deteriorate and ruin neighborhoods. There is not a clear explanation why this is the case.
"It's all over the city, I don't know why homeowners just up and leave," said Timothy Taraila with the city's code enforcement office.
And when residents move out, many times a seedier replacement arrives.
"They tend to be places for drugs, prostitution and some of them, people have gotten in and set fires," said Dover Planning Director Ann Marie Townshend.
Those dangers make other residents nervous about staying in the city.
"Nobody wants to live next to an abandoned house," Ashley Chichester said. "I know that I lock my doors when I drive through downtown Dover, so it's kind of creepy."
Taking care of the abandoned homes has become very expensive for the city.
"By the time we pay for the asbestos survey and the asbestos abatement we typically spend anywhere from $15 to $25,000 for the demolition and then place a lien on the property," Townshend said. And the city is often left waiting a long-time for repayment.
Proximity to deteriorated and abandoned properties has homeowners worried about the value of their homes.
"Property values are down probably about 30 percent because of the recession and when you have those, they're down even farther so it just goes to show what's happened," Robert Fox said.
The city tries to issue code enforcement violations for smaller issues so they do not balloon and end up like other abandoned homes in Dover.
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:19 AM EDT2013-05-18 14:19:20 GMT
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