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Norcross to advertise relocations

NORCROSS -- Moving ahead with a plan to either move or demolish the houses located at 155 N. Cemetery St. and 183 N. Cemetery St./183 Bostic St., city leaders Monday said that the two houses will very soon display advertisements stating that they are available for relocation.

This action is part of the city's mandated delay between the first public hearing concerning demolition of a structure, to issuance of the permit and eventual demolition. The waiting period gives interested parties the opportunity to save and move the houses.

The current waiting period, which seemed unclear when the matter of salvaging materials from these two houses was brought up last month by Connie Weathers of Sustainable Norcross, is a maximum of 180 days. As established during Monday's City Council meeting, the minimum waiting period is now 10 days from the date of the first public hearing regarding the demolition of a structure.

Councilman Charlie Riehm said Monday that the 10-day minimum waiting period serves to strengthen preservation of historic properties in Norcross.

Weathers last month asked city council's permission for volunteers and/or professionals (on behalf of Sustainable Norcross) to go into the two old homes and salvage any materials that may be re-used in art or other creations, or reclaimed to keep them out of landfills. She was granted permission to salvage the materials once the mandatory waiting period expires, but vandals have been pillaging the homes and taking souvenirs and materials for themselves.

"We've discovered that people have been breaking in and taking these things," Weathers said, adding that she recently encountered people on the property who even wanted to remove the plants.

Community Development Director Chris McCrary will be responsible for first securing the old homes, then advertising their availability for relocation. One councilman expressed concern that these steps had not already been taken.

"We were remiss in not securing those properties. Signs should have been up two weeks ago," said councilman Craig Newton.

The Sustainable Norcross commission's objective is to "advise the mayor and council regarding sustainability and environmental matters through development of a measured sustainable city plan and regular communication," according to the city's website. The five-member citizen panel focuses on green building, energy and water conservation, trees and green space, transportation, air quality, recycling, waste reduction, land use, education and volunteerism.

According to Weathers, any proceeds from the silent auction in which any salvaged items would be sold will go right back to the city to defray any costs associated with destructing the two city-owned properties.