Action has finally been mandated for a deteriorating Victorian mansion at 2223 Frankfort Avenue. Frank Faris, owner of the house and the adjacent Genny’s Diner, must comply with a court order to either sell the property, improve the house to correct all code violations, or serve a one year jail term. A judge issued the mandate during a December 15 court date and Faris has until January 25, 2010 to repair or sell the house or else report to jail.
The house was occupied less than a decade ago but has seen heavy deterioration including a 2006 fire leaving it in a state of advanced disrepair. Faris purchased the 19th century Queen Anne style house in the Clifton neighborhood in 2001 for $100,000. The house then sat unused for several years deteriorating. In 2003, Clifton was designated a Local Landmark District and later in September 2003, Faris was cited for numerous housing code violations.
A court date was scheduled in August 2004 to resolve the code violations but was rescheduled after Faris failed to appear on time. Three months later, another hearing sought to resolve public health and nuisance threats to the property and Faris was given a week to remove piles of gravel partially blocking the sidewalk and remove weeds and trash that could harbor rodents.
At a February 2005 hearing, Faris plead guilty to the housing code violations which allowed him 30 days to rectify the problems or demolish the building. Because of the neighborhood’s Landmark status, demolition would have required approval from the Clifton Architectural Review Committee or Faris would need to meet economic hardship criteria under the Louisville Landmark Ordinance.
Later, in September 2005, a judge imposed a $50,000 fine or a one year jail term for the housing code violations. Minimal improvements have been made over the years per judge’s requirements, but code violations still remain and have worsened.
Among the violations originally cited in 2003, many still must be corrected. Metro Louisville then requested deteriorating siding and molding be repaired as well as the roof, missing downspouts and windows replaced, garbage be removed, and the structure secured from unauthorized entry.
The house was not in perfect condition ten years ago but as can be seen in photos below, it was habitable and in generally good shape. Over the years, benign neglect has left the building in its current state as codes were ignored and now the building would require extensive renovation work if it can be salvaged.
Fortunately for the building, it sits on a vibrant stretch of Frankfort Avenue in a landmark district and might find a party interested in renovating the structure if Frank Faris opts to sell the property. The house’s value is currently assessed for tax purposes at $23,610. The .08 acre site is small and the house fills nearly the entire parcel, meaning if the structure is removed the site would not provide many parking spaces or easily accommodate a new structure.