Red Bank Cracking Down On Slumlords

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 - by Judy Frank

A "slumlord" who has successfully evaded Red Bank building inspectors' demands that she either repair or demolish her property dodged yet another bullet Tuesday evening.

Officials were forced to postpone a demolition hearing on property owned by Susan Ogle, located at 113 Signal View Ave., after learning that the mortgage-holder and trustee recently changed.

They did not discover the switch until earlier Tuesday, they said.

Public works officials told city commission members they have tried repeatedly to get Ms.

Ogle - who they said owns about a half dozen properties in the town - to do something about the one of Signal View.

However, the woman frequently changes her phone number and does not respond to their citations when they do manage to find her.

"It's not unusual for property owners to hide or even do a quit-claim deed when we start looking for them," officials noted.

The demolition hearing was postponed indefinitely, but officials said the problem may soon be taken care of one way or another. "We understand the new owner may be getting ready to foreclose on it," they said.

This is far from the only property that the town may have to step in and demolish, officials said. The top five properties being considered for condemnation include:

* 328 Sims Road, which cannot be seen from the road

* 308 Sutherland Dr., a burned property which the owners may take care of soon since a disputed insurance claim recently was settled

* 1738 Ashmore Ave., an open vacant structure

* 528 Gadd Road, where "the termites are the only thing holding it up"

* 520 Edgewood, which is structurally sound but described as filthy on the inside

In other action, Mayor Joe Glasscock asked City Attorney Arnold Stulce Jr. and other officials to look into possible restrictions the town can put on placement of political signs during the upcoming election.

Currently, public works employees remove such signs and bring them to City Hall, where they are stored out back and owners can come and reclaim them.

The additional restrictions would apply only to signs in the public right-of-way, officials noted, particularly those that are placed at intersections and block driver visibility.

"Some people don't just put up one, they put up 12 in a row," the mayor said. "I don't know if they're too lazy to get out and put them in different places or what."

Officials also noted that a memorial service for former Vice Mayor Ronnie Moore, who died recently while traveling in Europe, has been tentatively scheduled for Sept. 14. More details will be released later, they said.


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