Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rainy Days and Burning Houses

Can a house burn in the rain? Apparently it can. Last night a house burned down on my street. One neighbour said the flames were coming out of the roof already before the fire trucks arrived. And they did arrive. The street was lined with them.
This is a house that had already burned once, about six years ago. It was a work in progress, slowly getting repairs done to it. I have always known the house as the one with house wrap on the front. I have never known it to be home to anyone, and I guess it never will be.
After the fire was extinguished, the heavy equipment was brought in to knock it down. The burned timbers got loaded into trucks and hauled away. I am surprised at how quickly the process is, when a house is burned to that extent. The rain did not stop a thing last night. It did not stop the fire, and it did not stop the removal of its remains.
Once the work is complete, we will be left with a vacant lot. I think that will be an improvement to the street. We seem to be gaining boarded houses lately, so a vacant lot is the lesser of two evils. And the way the housing market is going, that lot may soon hold a new infill house.
I am starting to pay attention to the vacant lots now, watching for those yellow variance postings. I am no longer going to let those variances go uncontested. You know the ones, the ones that change a single lot to a multi dwelling unit. In the last year or so, I have had two lots close to me change their zoning; one went to a duplex and the other a four-plex. My thinking is that single family dwellings are far more likely to go to people who live in their owned home, and improve the street. The multi dwelling houses are always rentals, and the likelihood of bad tenants moving in is pretty high.
So, this soon to be vacant lot is going to stay a single family dwelling. Rain or shine, they are not changing the zoning on that one.

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