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Posted: 5:15 p.m. Monday, July 16, 2012
By Mark Becker
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
People living near a north Charlotte park where a pregnant teenager was murdered say they want two vacant homes demolished, but it is not likely to happen anytime soon.
The two houses on Rockwell Church Road are across the street from the park where 17-year-old Hawa Gabbidon was found murdered earlier this month.
Neighbors wonder if she would be alive today if those houses were demolished months ago.
"I have witnessed a lot of people coming and going -- activity that looks suspicious," said one neighbor who did not want to reveal her name.
She has catalogued some of that suspicious activity and spoken with police, who have taken their complaints to the city's code enforcement department.
But the man in charge of that department told Eyewitness News that demolition is not likely yet.
"Neither of these residences really have what would be considered unsafe violations," said Walter Abernethy.
Abernethy said repair costs would have to exceed 65 percent of a home's tax value to be in line for demolition.
He said they have begun issuing fines to the homeowners and that could be the first step.
"If the owners don't comply, those will fall into a worse category, maybe even a demolition category," Abernethy said.
The owners of both homes are out of state and Eyewitness News was not able to reach them, but a cleanup crew did show up at one of the homes Monday morning and began picking up debris.
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