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Santa Rosa Co putting pressure on owners of dilapidated Delchamps property
SANTA ROSA COUNTY -- Code violations. Mountains of rubble. Graphic graffiti.
Residents in a Gulf Breeze neighborhood are fed up with a dilapidated piece of property on Highway 98.
Now Santa Rosa County is putting more pressure on the property owner to clean up the mess.
This should be a prime piece of property here along Highway 98 in Gulf Breeze. Instead, the one-time grocery store is now boarded up. The front door is locked. No one can get in.
People who live close by think of this as an eyesore and a safety hazard.
Now the county and the property owner are working together to try and come up with a fix.
It's not pretty. Some would call it downright ugly.
It kind of reminds you of.
"It looks like something, if you had a picture of local Syria, or Beruit, some of these other areas - it would fit right in there," says Steve Carree, who lived behind the property.
Steve Carree has lived in the neighborhood behind the property for 15 years.
He and his neighbors have watched the former Delchamps center rot away.
"Wow. How about it? It's been that way for I don't know how many years. I've lost track of time," says Carree.
"A lot of that debris that you see in the back of the complex was dumped back there. Part of it being the old foundation from the end of the building that was destroyed. And it's just kind of been going downhill since," says Cliff Ratte, who also lives in the neighborhood.
The grocery store closed before Hurricane Ivan.
That storm -- and Hurricane Dennis -- added to the eyesore.
"Some vagrants using the building and around there. So getting in and out of the building. Crawling over all that concrete. I think it's a real problem," says Ratte.
"What we have coming over here is not productive to the neighborhood. We've got mice. We've got rats. We've got who knows what's going on in there. It's an eyesore, and it brings down the value of our own property," says Carree.
We talked to Santa Rosa County code enforcement.
The county is looking at the property as a land use and zoning issue.
All this concrete is considered to be in storage -- and must be cleaned up.
Code enforcement is also making sure the property owner -- Moulton Properties of Pensacola -- is keeping the building secure now.
We called Moulton Properties, but did not get a response.
Neighbors we talked to want to see more drastic steps.
"At this point, the building itself really needs to go. I mean the property needs to be cleaned up," says Ratte.