A Manassas subcommittee has signed off on spending $30,000 to demolish a prized historic house, paving the way for a long-debated issue to be settled by the City Council.
The property at 9300 Prescott Ave., a Queen Anne-style house more than 100 years old in historic Old Town, was slated for demolition because it poses a safety hazard and has largely been neglected in recent years, officials said. Under a state “blight” law, localities can demolish abandoned, unsightly properties.
Neighbors have fought to save the house. But in February, Manassas Mayor Harry “Hal” Parrish II backed a decision demanding that the property owner make improvements on the structure or face its demolition by the city.
The city finance committee last week backed funding for demolition, paving the way for a final vote by the City Council on Dec. 10.
City officials say that the property owner, Dorothy Feaganes, who officials say has filed for bankruptcy, has made no improvements in the property. Feaganes, who has promised to fix the house, has said that she has had trouble getting money to pay for repairs but doesn’t want to sell the property.
“As mayor, it’s frustrating to me, because we’ve got what could be a beautiful home,” Parrish has said. A lien put on the house ensures that the city can recoup its costs when the property is sold, officials say. If the property is not sold within two years, the city can put it on the market.
City Council member J. Steven Randolph (I) said there are misconceptions about what the city can and should do with the house. “People say, ‘Well, put it on the market,’ ” he said. “But the city cannot do that.”