Land bank takes down Canfield eyesore
CANFIELD — A vacant uninhabited house at 280 Lisbon St. (U.S. Route 62) in Canfield is no more as a crew from M&M Demolition leveled the structure last week.
The house has been vacant for about eight years. The owner walked away from it after being cited in Canfield Mayor’s Court for property maintenance violations. Since that time, the house has been home to a family of raccoons and possibly other wildlife.
Last year, on Aug. 24, Canfield City Council unanimously approved the demolition of the property through the Mahoning County Land Bank. State funds were applied for and the demolition was approved.
The structure, built in 1920 and added on to several times, was condemned by the Cardinal Joint Fire District on Aug. 3, 2022.
“For us to do a demolition, Canfield (City) had to assess it and have it declared uninhabitable,” said Deborah Flora, executive director of the Mahoning County Land Bank. “It is a legal process that must be done.”
She said the land bank was given up to $6.8 million from Ohio’s Department of Development to demolish 596 addresses in Mahoning County. The grant came through the Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program. The amount included 104 homes in Campbell, five in Smith Township, four in Austintown, four in Sebring, two in Boardman, and one each in Beaver, Coitsville, Poland Township and the City of Canfield.
“At the request of (Canfield City), we were asked for help,” Flora said. “Certifications from the fire district and the Mahoning County Board of Health were steps taken to support a case to demolish.”
The Mahoning County Land Bank did not take possession of the house and property. All they did was take the house down and restore the property as a grass lot.
The Land Bank is close to being done with homes that are in outlying areas of the county.
“When they are done, (with the outlying communities), we will focus on Youngstown,” Flora said.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Canfield Zoning Inspector Mike Cook said the lot is still owned by the original owner. He said the owner, and the bank that financed it, don’t want anything to do with it.
The property has a current tax of $1,786.48 and delinquent taxes of $21,564.92. The property went to a sheriff’s sale twice in the past few years, but no bids were offered.
A third attempt may happen, but Cook said the lot is an odd one as it is shaped like a triangle.
It is zoned R-3 (small residential single family) but may be too small to permit new construction.
“According to our city ordinances, it is not a buildable lot,” Cook said. “Adjustments would be needed for lot size, setbacks and structure size.”
He said it is not impossible, but it would take several meetings for the Planning and Zoning Board to get the adjustments approved.
For the neighborhood, the demolition will bring a sigh of relief. Besides the critters that made the structure home, there were other areas of concern, according to Cook. He said in 2022, the police were alerted to a squatter in the house. The person couldn’t be located, but a television and mattress were in the house. No one knew where he got electricity for the TV as all utilities had been shut off.
As for the future, Flora said the land bank has been informed of another round of state funds coming, which will help bring even more neglected and uninhabitable houses down.