City man clears debris, sees charges dropped

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2003

Ernest McBride’s once-condemned house at 3001 Pittman Alley.(Jenny Sevcik The Vicksburg Post)

[12/3/03]Code-violation charges against a Vicksburg man were dropped Tuesday because debris had been removed from around his once-condemned shotgun house beside the Mississippi River.

In Vicksburg Community Court Tuesday, Judge Mack Varner said Ernest McBride no longer faces payment of $2,106 in a suspended fine and court costs for code violations at his 3001 Pittman Alley property.

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“There was a large pile of rubbish,” beside the house, city code enforcement officer Wayne Scott said.

That debris has been removed since the charges were brought Sept. 23, Scott said.

The home has not been connected to public utilities since about 1982. One-block-long Pittman Alley is between Oak Street and the Kansas City Southern railway. McBride, who lives elsewhere, is a freelance writer.

In May 2002, the city condemned the house and began a process that would have resulted in its demolition. The roof had caved in and was missing from half the house, Scott said.

In February, however, the city’s board of mayor and aldermen gave the home a 30-day reprieve after neighbors said they would help rehabilitate the house.

McBride obtained a building permit that was later extended until September.

“Once the permit expired, and the house was not completed, (the case) was turned over to me,” Scott said.

The debris has since been removed, and much but not all of the repair work needed to bring the house up to city standards has been done, Scott said.

“If it’s not done in 30 days, we will start the process over again,” Scott said.

In a separate case that came before Varner Tuesday, a hearing on code-violation charges against Robert Rosenthal, the owner of the former Carr Central school building on Cherry Street, was delayed after Rosenthal had a personal emergency arise, Scott said.

The court was to hear arguments on code-violation charges from July 16 that said the building is not watertight and is overgrown with weeds and vines. Varner postponed it until Dec. 16.

Scott said the case has been delayed several times since its original Aug. 5 court date.

The school building was also set to be demolished once. Plans were changed in 1994 when it was designated a state historic property. Opened as a high school in 1924 and later used as a junior high school, it has been vacant since 1982.

Also in the court Tuesday, the question of whether a mobile home belonging to Magnolia Estates Home Sales Center, 1333 U.S. 61 South, may be displayed at Vicksburg Factory Outlets, 4000 S. Frontage Road, was referred to the city’s zoning board.

Magnolia Estates was cited Nov. 6 for displaying the home in violation of the general-commercial zoning of the outlet mall site, city zoning administrator Dalton McCarty said.

Varner did not fine Magnolia Tuesday, but ordered that the show home that remains on the shopping center’s lot remain closed to public tours until after the zoning-board hearing, McCarty said. The hearing was set for 5 p.m. Jan. 6.