Irondequoit, N.Y. - You may have heard the term 'zombie homes.'The term refers to vacant homes that have not been maintained after being foreclosed on.The town of Irondequoit compiled a list of about 250 foreclosed and abandoned properties to help maintain them until they are sold.
On Tuesday, the town demolished one of the 'zombie' properties which stood at 159 Mountcalm Drive. By dawn, it was knocked down.
"This house has been an eyesore and a problem for this neighborhood for years," said Adam Bello, Town Supervisor for Irondequoit. "It's a catalyst for creating a whole new set of laws to deal with these vacant houses."
Residents in the area say the abandoned properties attract crime to the neighborhood.
"As we are finding out where all these vacant houses are, we're requiring the conditions to be met," Bello said. "And if they're not met, we are notifying the home owners that they are in violation and they need to fix up the home. And if they don't fix up the homes, we fix them up and bill back the property owners."
The house demolished Tuesday morning had been vacant for roughly five years. Bello said the owner walked away from the property and now lives out of state. Neighbor Pete Huse has lived across the street for 42 years.
"Somebody said there was a tree growing through the hole," Huse said. "There was a hole in the roof and it was like that for 15 years."
Many neighbors were happy to see the demolition, saying it's about time.
"I didn't care to see it every day when I looked outside my window, but I didn't think there would be anything we could do about it," Huse said.
Bello said part of the problem is the town doesn't hear anything at all from neighbors and that's what makes the situation fester.
One positive result of the foreclosures, Bello added, is that many of the vacant homes have been fixed up and put on the market. The teardown cost the town $10,000. The bill will be sent to the homeowner. If he chooses not to pay, it will go on the property's tax bill and included on the tax foreclosure process if necessary.