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Man chains himself to DC home after city officials seize his house to make repairs

Man chains himself to DC home after city officials seize his house to make repairs (Scott Taylor/ABC7)

George Farris, a homeowner in Washington, D.C., is currently chained to the front door of his home on 6th Street NE and H Street.

Back in June, the 7 ON YOUR SIDE I-Team first told you about Farris' battle with the District to get his home’s foundation and an alley repaired.

Both collapsed more than a year and half ago and the alley remains blocked.

On Wednesday, Farris chained himself up after the city put a lock on his front door with a sign saying it would be making repairs to the alley and his home within days.

“The home was originally built in 1862 across from a Union Army campground," said Farris. "It’s historic and the District agreed to pay for the damages and then secured drawings which have since been proven to be inadequate.”

Earlier this year, Betty Hart who owns With These Hands Hair Gallery told the I-Team, "I've called a lot of people trying to get it straightened out."

Hart has been in the same location for the past 33 years next to the alley and is frustrated.

Betty Hart's biggest concern is the alley has been blocked off for more than 16 months and it’s also blocking her back door and her parking space.

"I can't even get in the alley," said Hart.

Farris and the city have been discussing who's responsible for repairs for months. After 7 ON YOUR SIDE I-Team Investigator Scott Taylor started asking tough questions, the District said repairs would start in May.

Joaquin McPeek, the Director of Communications with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, told the I-Team earlier this year, “It's going to be a nine week process. It's going to start by the end of May, so by this summer we hope that alley way will be up and running."

June came and went with no repairs. The city told the I-Team Farris had two weeks to review repair plans. The District would pick up the tab, but any further delays and the city said it could attempt to seize the home to make repairs.

Two months later and that’s exactly what the city is doing as mentioned in an emailed statement:

“The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has begun the process of securing the site in order to begin the necessary work to stabilize and repair it. We understand this process might be disruptive to the homeowner. But it is important that we make sure the property is safe and restore access to the public alley that serves the businesses and residents.”

“I’m not moving and this represents an unlawful taking of our property," said Farris.

The alley repair is all part of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's repair project for streets, sidewalks and alleys. $175 million is going into the repair project and that includes about 300 alleys all over the District.

If you see an alley that needs repair you can report it here.

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