The city is preparing to follow a new procedure for dealing with unsafe homes and properties after the Columbus Board of Works unanimously accepted a recommendation to demolish a home in the 400 block of 12th Street.

Fred Barnett, the city’s code enforcement officer, told Board of Works members at a meeting recently that an inspection of the home located at 417 12th St. showed internally and externally that it is beyond repair. The cost of attempting to renovate the structure would likely outweigh its value, so Barnett brought a recommendation to the city to vacate, condemn and demolish the home.

Although Board of Works members voted in favor of Barnett’s recommendation, demolition of the 12th Street home will not be immediate. Instead, the case will be sent to Bartholomew County Superior Court, where a judge can decide to make a judgment or send the case to trial.

The judicial review element of the home-demolition process is the result of a set of reforms Barnett and Mayor Jim Lienhoop have been working in recent months to implement.

Previously, Barnett said he had to rely on a combination of state and municipal codes to determine the best course of action to deal with unsafe, blighted or slum properties.

Based on the procedures outlined in state and city codes, Barnett said he developed a clearly defined procedure that spells out the steps the city should follow when trying to determine if a property should be vacated and demolished.

A review of the city’s demolition process began after a city contractor razed a Columbus home in February 2015 without any record of a demolition order being affirmed for the property.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

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Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at or 812-379-5712.