Residents Still Upset by Vacant Bypass Homes

April 3, 2014

A day after we showed you over grown yards and homes in various states of disrepair, a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) worker was out checking one of the homes we featured, looking for damage.

Residents living next door these properties say they don't want to wait any longer for something to happen and want to see results soon.

"We can't wait another 20 years, these houses won't last another five years in the condition that they are in," says David Bashline.

Bashline lives in the Squirrel Ridge neighborhood in Albemarle County and says that conditions of the homes have to change for the better.

VDOT owns and rents nine houses in the neighborhood and seven of those are currently vacant. Some have been empty for over 4 years.

"We don't feel as a neighborhood that VDOT has been holding up their end of the bargain as far as caring for these houses,” says Bashline. “If you go and look at the houses that are vacant you will see a lot of them are in disrepair.”

Despite the appearance of some of the properties owned by VDOT, they still maintain that that they are taking care of the properties, but some of the houses have structure damage as well as water damage.

Many are turning to the county, asking what can be done, but Ann Mallek of the Board of Supervisors says the property belongs to VDOT.

“From the county's perspective, it is in VDOT's court,” says Mallek. “We can certainly encourage them to carry out their obligation as swiftly as possible.”

“If all of those properties were condemned, it would be about a million dollars per year lost,” says Mallek. “That's about $100 million of assessed value, so some percentage of that which has already been purchased will be back into the public stream as soon as it gets into private hands.”

All that residents can do, who live next to these properties, is wait and see what comes from the Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting in May.

“We all hope to hear something from that meeting and I would think that at that meeting or very soon thereafter they'll have a plan in place that says here is what we will do with the right of way,” says Bashline.

By state law VDOT has to offer the properties to the previous owners first before selling to the general public, but we won't know if they will sell the 36 properties until plans for Route 29 are complete.

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