Future of dilapidated house still uncertain


There may finally be an answer to a years-long controversy about what to do with a dilapidated house in the Philadelphia Historic District.

The house, located at 510 Holland Ave., is owned by Jack Land. It was damaged during Hurricane Katrina, and for whatever reason, the roof was never repaired. The house has deteriorated to the point that no one can live in it.

Over the years, neighbors have brought complaints to the city about the condition of the lot and the house. Mr. Land reportedly would make some efforts to clean the lot and not much else happened until it got bad again, and the complaints started again.  

In the latest round of complaints, the city determined that the house had to be brought up to standards now, or it was going to be torn down.

Mr. Land is now in long-term care and is unable to do anything about the house. His son, Brad Land, has also been involved in the discussions over the years.

He has talked back-and-forth with neighbors and city officials and not much has been accomplished. Often, those talks were not pleasant.

A public hearing on the matter was held last Tuesday. Brad Land and neighbors went back and forth. Gloria Williamson at one point offered to buy the property on the spot but the offer was not accepted.

Mr. Land’s other son, Mike Land, appeared before the board. He said this was the first he had heard of any problems.

The house is located in alderman Joe Tullos’s Ward 1. Tullos said the problem been going on for 15 years and action must be taken now.

Tullos said promises have been made and nothing had happened. He was prepared to make a motion to have the house taken demolished now.

Mike Land informed the board he had the power of attorney for his father, meaning he could make decisions concerning his father’s property, including the house in question. The mood of the meeting changed. Tullos and others said they would meet with Mike Land and would report back at the next board meeting.          

In other matters, the board voted to:

• Approve letting Steve Copeland rescind his letter of resignation from the Fire Department;

• Approve the application of a Small Municipal Grant for the Booker T. Gym, possibly in the amount of $150,000;

• Approve the employment of Randy Lewis for the Street Department;

• Approve setting a hearing date on Oct. 6 for property on East Main to rezone a lot from R1 to C2;

• Approve a road bore by AT&T along Poplar Avenue;

• Approve to pay $4,500 for the cutting and removal of trees along MLK Drive;

• Approve for Jeff Trapp to attend a conference in Natchez, and for the city to cover his expenses;

• Approve a public hearing on Oct. 6 to decide whether to change the zoning of lot on Highway 16 from R1 to C3;

• Approve the purchase of a yearly subscription to SAR Data Collection

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