Robert Dickendesher has been ordered to tear down the building at 18 E. Main St. at his own expense, four years after he received his first notice for demolition.

Robert Dickendesher has been ordered to tear down the building at 18 E. Main St. at his own expense, four years after he received his first notice for demolition.

The city cited Dickendesher for code violations at the property in April 2008 and issued a notice for "correction or demolition" on April 28, 2008.

Zoning inspector Angela Hobart said the city had approved Dickendesher's request to repair parts of the property in July 2008. Timelines were extended, but the building permit expired Aug. 6, 2010, without much work done.

On Aug. 27, 2010, Dickendesher received another notice of violation, requiring him to tear down the building. He filed an appeal with the city's board of construction appeals, and the board voted unanimously to uphold the demolition order. A subsequent appeal to the Franklin County Environmental Court on Nov. 23, 2010, was in Dickendesher's favor, requiring the city to negotiate with Dickendesher on the demolition costs. City attorney Asim Haque said the city had spent nearly a year - between December 2010 and October 2011 - making unsuccessful offers to pay Dickendesher up to $20,000, which would cover the $11,000 needed for demolition.

On Nov. 3, 2011, Judge Harland Hale of the Franklin County Environmental Court ordered that the case be settled or sent back to the board of construction appeals for a final hearing. During the March 19 board hearing, Dickendesher said he bought the property in 1958 and opened a hardware store on it. It eventually also served as an office for the New Albany newspaper and was the first location of Eagles Villa Pizza and the Wayside Flower Shoppe.

Dickendesher said his contractor, who was supposed to complete repairs on the site, left the job to pursue another career and that illnesses suffered by Dickendesher and his late wife, Eileen, also delayed the project.

"I'd ask for three more months to get one of my buildings sold so I can get some money in my pocket," he said. "Two architects have testified it's a sound building."

Board member William Fannin Sr. said, "We've heard architects and attorneys tell us something good's going to happen on that property for the last four years. My guess is, not much will happen in the next 90 days either."

Board chairman Karl Billisits asked if much work has been done to the property since 2010.

Hobart said it hasn't.

Billisits also asked if anything would prevent the building from being torn down, and she said no.

Dickendesher said asbestos is in the flooring but no lead paint is in the building.

After the board voted 5-0 to affirm the demolition order, Dickendesher asked if he could keep the garage on the site and operate a business out of it.

Hobart said that after all of the buildings are torn down, she could discuss potential uses for the site; however, the demolition order is for all buildings on the site.

The city is drafting a letter that will be sent to Dickendesher this week. Upon receipt, he will have 30 days to appeal the March 19 ruling by the board of construction appeals.