Manassas moves closer to razing dilapidated house on Prescott Avenue

Manassas officials are moving forward with plans to demolish a house on historic Prescott Avenue, saying the owner has failed to meet the city’s demands to fix up the dilapidated property.

The Queen Anne-style house at 9300 Prescott Ave. was once a proud part of Old Town Manassas, neighbors say. The property has fallen into disrepair, though, and the City Council has long struggled with how to deal with a structure that is steeped in nostalgia but has deteriorated into an eyesore.

Officials say the owner, Dorothy Feaganes, has failed to fix up the property, which has a sagging porch and peeling paint, among what officials say are other problems inside. Feaganes has said that city officials are too eager to get her property and that she doesn’t want to sell because she hopes to live there again one day.

In February, Mayor Harry J. “Hal” Parrish II (R) broke a tie on the council and decided that, after decades of wrangling and pleading with the owner to fix up the aging house, the city should move forward with demolishing the structure if the owner didn’t quickly move to file plans to make repairs and then do the necessary construction.

Feaganes said that she wasn’t aware the city was moving ahead with plans for demolition and that repairs have begun. “I’m planning on keeping it, I really am,” Feaganes said.

Jamie Collins, a city inspection manager, said Monday that numerous letters to the Feaganes family have yielded no responses and that the family has made no improvements to the house despite promises to do so. The City Council then approved an initial step in a process that could end with the house’s demolition: a $1,200 allocation for a required asbestos inspection.

The city should recoup money it spends on required inspections and demolitions through a lien on the property, City Attorney Martin Crim said.

Parrish instructed city officials to again call Bank of America, which has the property’s mortgage, in hopes that the bank might step in. Bank officials have so far stayed mum on the matter.

“Although I broke the tie to demolish the structure, it is not something I take lightly,” Parrish said.

Collins said Manassas plans to ask for bids to demolish the property in August and move to raze it in September.

Jeremy Borden covers Prince William County, Va., for The Washington Post.
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