Property owner out of deadlines, but gets compromise from commissioners
An Orangefield man’s property, long ago condemned by the county as a public nuisance, will be cleared of brush and other debris and have a lien placed on it, commissioners said Monday.
The home there will not be demolished — for now.
Gene Mansfield has spoken to commissioners several times in the last three months, receiving several sympathetic demolition extensions.
In a June meeting, Mansfield said his mother died without leaving a will, and although his siblings aren’t interested in the property, he apparently can’t lay enough claim to sell the property himself.
He’s used the house there to store valuable belongings and sentimental family keepsakes, has nowhere else to put it and can’t afford paid storage, he said. Then Hurricane Rita took her toll too.
“Everything hit me all at one time,” he said Monday. “[The grounds need] to be cleaned up. I’m not going to argue that. I’m proud for what I’ve got, because if I didn’t have it I’d be starving.”
But Mansfield has had a significant amount of time to fix things up, commissioners argued Monday.
“None us wants to tear down a house,” said County Judge Carl Thibodeaux. “But you have not given us anything to hang our hat on.” Commissioner John Dubose added, “You say you have all this valuable stuff in the house. Couldn’t you just sell some of it to pay for repairs?” Mansfield said he’s living month-to-month on a small government check with no means to sell the items and can’t interest anyone in buying the property.
In the end, commissioners amended their agenda to clean the property’s exterior, with future options to seize the home’s items or demolish it with them inside.
“This will give him the opportunity to have a garage sale with a clean lawn,” Thibodeaux said. He added that proceeds from the sale could be used to pay back the county.
In other business, commissioners amended county-recognized holidays in 2009. Texas Independence Day, normally observed in March, was moved to Jan. 2 to give county employees a four-day weekend starting Jan. 1.