This story was brought to my attention courtest of Matt whom is a regular contributor to VICARR, a yahoo newgroup, which I co-moderate on Victorian architecure. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vicarr/?yguid=92499788
This story took place last summer and illustrates what happens when an impass is reached between a property owner and a city. As teh story goes this property owner was elderly, a "hoarder" and had filled every nook and cranny with junk. There were also dozens of feral cats in the house. After a protracted process the city finally ordered the house demolished. Despite some last minute negotiation, it is unclear if the elderly owner was mentally sound or if his realtives knew the implication of the order, The home was demolished. The sad photos are here: http://www.mlive.com/mugallery/galleries/gallery.ssf?cgi-bin/view_gallery.cgi/mlive/view_gallery.ata?g_id=5491
Unfortunately in many municipalities demolition is the only recourse avilable legally. Many cities have adopted a land bank approach, where properties are stabilized and then sold to families who will restore them or community development groups. This is all timely as we just celebrated earth day and everyone is talking about "being green". Hardly a day goes by on the Building Cincinnati web blog that there are not pictures of another home demolished: http://www.building-cincinnati.com/ In this age of reducing our carbon footprint or building green, maybe saving what we already have makes the most sense?