|The vacant house at 3408 Washington Drive has been boarded up.|
The vacant houses on Washington Drive and Charles Street in Bailey’s Crossroads that had been taken over by homeless squatters were boarded up on March 31.
Neighbors had been complaining for weeks about the properties, but Spectrum Development finally responded after WUSA Channel 9 reported on the situation on March 30. One homeless man even admitted on camera that he was using K2 (an illegal synthetic drug also known as “spice”) in one of the houses.
|3402 Charles Street has been secured.|
WUSA had followed up on a story posted on the Annandale Blog and, in fact, got the location wrong, calling it Annandale, instead of Bailey’s Crossroads.
Spectrum acquired the houses, as well as a vacant lot and old Geico building on Leesburg Pike, for a shopping center project that had been approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors more than a year ago.
Residents were concerned that Spectrum, which plans to tear down the two houses, had left them unsecured with unlocked doors and broken windows. They had repeatedly called the police to report homeless men in the houses and wandering the neighborhood.
Spectrum President Dick Buskell sent an email to residents on March 31 stating that the properties had not been secured earlier because the company thought the demolition would have happened sooner.
|Here's what the Charles Street house used to look like.|
“Had we had any idea that we were going to encounter these bureaucratic delays, we would have secured the properties in February,” Buskell stated. “Believe me these delays are very costly and we are all victims. We would have eliminated this longstanding eyesore in 2013 when we put the properties under contract if we were allowed to, and I truly believe that the Culmore community as a whole would be well on its way to revitalization.”
Buskell said Washington Gas has disconnected the gas line, which means demolition can begin shortly. He also reported that Spectrum has filed a no-trespassing authorization with the police. Neighbors had complained that the lack of such an authorization meant that the police couldn’t arrest the squatters.
A resident of Washington Street takes issue with a statement by Buskell to WUSA that he just learned about the squatters “a couple of days ago.” Residents had sent several emails to Spectrum over the past few weeks about the broken windows and homeless people and requesting the properties be cleaned up and secured as soon as possible.