BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON
This home in DeBary’s northeast section, pictured at left, stands to be demolished, as city officials say it is no longer fit for human habitation.

An older home in DeBary deemed uninhabitable and unsafe faces demolition in the coming days.

At the urging of City Manager Carmen Rosamonda, the City Council unanimously condemned the house at 3 Amigos Road, just a short distance south of East Highbanks Road.

“I would like to expedite this,” Rosamonda told the council Dec. 7.

There is evidence that transients have occupied the home.

“It is essentially unsafe as a structure,” Mayor Karen Chasez said. “Neighbors have voiced concerns.”

A detached garage on the property also may be torn down.

“This has been in foreclosure since January or February,” Chasez said.

Following the City Council’s vote of support for tearing down the house, Rosamonda said Dec. 21 he has secured proposals for the demolition.

“We’ve got three quotes,” he told The Beacon, adding he expects to select one of the prospective contractors soon.

A history of the house compiled by city officials shows the trouble began with the death of the owner in June 2020.

Then in 2021 came complaints from neighbors about “noise, smells and activity” on the property. More complaints followed.

In March, Duke Energy removed the electric meter from the home, following reports of the theft of power from the house.

The empty dwelling attracted drug abusers and homeless people, according to the city’s history.

PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF DEBARY
HOUSE OF HORRORS? —A snapshot of the home’s dilapidated living room

The Volusia Sheriff’s Office’s drug task force raided the home Oct. 12, and city personnel boarded up the structure and set up a plastic fence on the property, along with warnings not to enter the home.

Notices of a condemnation hearing appeared on the site, and notices were also sent to the address of record for the deceased owner, the mortgage company and the judge trying the foreclosure case.

On Oct. 31, there was a report of a burglary of the home. The next day, there were reports of vehicles on the property and people sleeping in them.

On Nov. 3, city officials obtained a roll-off container and had the property cleaned of debris. Two vehicles were hauled away from the home, as well.

The condemnation order highlights the condition of the house and garage as fit only for demolition.

“The structures have been severely damaged by transients inhabiting the structure, who have damaged the foundation, roof systems, foundation and electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems beyond a reasonably repairable state,” the order notes. “Such transients have also removed load-bearing structural walls within the residential dwelling beyond reasonable repair. As a result of the foregoing, the structures have become dangerous to life, safety, or the general health and welfare of people within or nearby the structure.”

The condemnation order describes the dwelling and the garage as “so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary … it fails to provide the amenities to decent living that it is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or is likely to cause sickness or disease so as to injure health, safety or general welfare.”

The city’s timeline notes sheriff’s deputies went to the address on an unspecified date in early December and “served a search warrant.” Upon arrival, the deputies found 14 people living inside a deplorable structure with makeshift electrical lines powered by a generator. The raid culminated an investigation that had begun in August, the official records mention, and had included “multiple buys of methamphetamine and heroin.”

PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF DEBARY
Vandalized wiring in the building’s ceiling

Besides making the arrests, the deputies seized drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, oxycodone and cannabis, along with $3,593 in cash.

To recover its cost of demolishing the dwelling, Rosamonda said DeBary will place a lien on the property, and the mortgage company that now owns it must pay that debt before or at the time of closing the sale of the cleared lot.

Rosamonda estimated the demolition will cost about $28,000.

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