County sells 'eyesore' house with tax liens through auction house

Winning bidder will raze the structure

  • This derelict house at 506 Locksley Road in West Towson has been sold, said Councilman David Marks.
This derelict house at 506 Locksley Road in West Towson has been… (File photo )
September 08, 2014|By Larry Perl, lperl@tribune.com

A run-down uninhabited house at 506 Locksley Road that has been the subject of complaints for the last two years from West Towson neighbors has been sold, County Councilman Marks said.

"We're happy to get this resolved," said Marks, who represents Towson. "It's been an eyesore. The county worked very, very hard on this."

Marks said the winning bidder was a builder with plans to raze the structure. The auction company, A.J. Billig & Co., confirmed the sale but would not identify the buyer.

West Towson residents had been lobbying the county to address the unsightly home, which had $92,000 in unpaid liens owned by the county and was owned by Price C. Meade, according to county tax records.

But county officials said in January, 2013 that there was a limit to what action they could take, other than to sell the property at a tax sale because of unpaid back taxes. The property sold for $124,000, Marks said.

Until the sale, residents had to endure what they said was a foul-smelling eyesore on an otherwise quaint block.

Mike Ertel, a West Towson resident, former County Council candidate and now vice president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, has said the house is a safety issue.

An electrical fire burned out the inside of the property and made it uninhabitable, county officials said. But the county deemed the house salvageable and Meade had the right to defend against a tax sale, officials said.

Ertel said that residents had frequently lobbied Marks' office and the office of predecessor Vince Gardina, and had also frequently contacted county code enforcement officials.

"We're happy it's finally sold," Ertel said last week. He said the house sits on a small court and smelled like fire.

The courts intervened on behalf of the previous owner, and that delayed resolution of the issue, Marks said.

Arnold Jablon, the county's director of Permits, Approvals and Inspections, said in January 2013 that because the county had deemed the house salvageable, the owner must be served with a summons and legal notice before the county has the authority to take any other action beyond the tax sale.

"We cannot just enter a property and raze a building without first providing the property owner with appropriate due process," Jablon said at the time. "The latter includes providing the property owner the absolute right to defend against a proposed county taking. ... [this affords] the owner the right to protest in court."

This story has been updated.

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