A Citrus Heights house that drew neighborhood complaints and code enforcement actions for more than a decade fell to demolition crews Monday morning.
Neighbors gathered across the street from the house in the 7300 block of Spicer Drive, expressing both sadness for the owner and relief that a house deemed a health and safety hazard finally was being removed.
They set up outdoor tables and offered cookies and other refreshment as they recalled the ordeal dealing with the odor from dozens of cats living in the house under unsanitary conditions.
You dont want to go too crazy celebrating with balloons or champagne, said neighbor Marcelle Flowers. But its been a long, long battle, and its coming to an end today.
Flowers said owner Nancy Logsdon, 74, came to the site early Monday morning but left before the demolition began at 8 a.m.
It was a very sad day for her, Flowers said. She did not see (the condition of the property) as a problem.
Logsdon, in a telephone interview later in the day, lashed out at neighbors and city officials, saying they had destroyed her dream house.
Im incredibly angry and heartbroken, she said.
Logsdon said she and her husband had the home custom-built in 1976. But she said they have not lived there since 2001, although she went to the house daily to feed the cats.
Logsdon said her husband is ill and that they were unable to fix up the house since they were helping support another family member who is ill. What money was left, she said, has gone to care for cats. Logsdon described herself as a cat rescuer and said cats were dropped off at the house by people who knew she would care for them.
The odor of cat feces wafted across the street as the house was torn down Monday.
Neighbors said cats began escaping into the neighborhood after the house was vandalized. Citrus Heights police Sgt. Dave Moranz said animal services employees trapped more than 50 cats and made sure escape routes were available so cats could get out of the house before demolition began.
Neighbors and city officials said they had tried for years to work with Logsdon to help her find the resources to get the property cleaned up and repaired, but without success.
It has been on our radar since the early 2000s, said Citrus Heights police Lt. Ryan Kinnan.
Neighbors had long complained of the odor of urine and feces emanating from the house, which code enforcement officers found was being used as cattery, Kinnan sid.
In January 2013, the city obtained a court order allowing inspectors to enter the house and evaluate the violations, which included structural problems as well as the sanitation issues.
Over the last year police, code enforcement and building staff members tried again to work with Logsdon to resolve the violations. When those efforts failed, Kinnan said, the city in December got court approval to remove the structure.
Crews last week trimmed trees and cleared debris from around the house in preparation for Mondays demolition. A hazardous materials crew removed linoleum with asbestos, Kinnan said.
The demolition cost the city about $38,000, and Kinnan said a lien will be placed on the property to recover the cost when it is sold.
It is rare that a code enforcement action reaches the point where the city demolishes a home, he said.
Usually we get the cooperation of the homeowner, if it is owner-occupied or theres a family member who is in a position to help get the issues taken care of, Kinnan said.
Flowers and Sharron Mester, who lives next door to the Logsdon property, said the experience has been grueling, but said the neighborhood has been united in the effort to fix the problem. Neighborhood residents signed petitions and submitted them to the city, and Flowers and Mester gave depositions to the city attorney.
Mester praised city officials for their response, saying that as a property owner, she recognizes the importance of giving a homeowner every opportunity to correct problems before resorting to demolition.
Logsdon still owns the land and is responsible for maintaining the lot.
We will be keeping a close eye on it, Moranz said. We dont want it going back to the way it was.
Call The Bees Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.