Va. Beach home condemned because of hoarding

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by Brian Farrell

WVEC.com

Posted on March 18, 2011 at 12:48 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 18 at 7:40 AM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- The Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation (DHNP) condemned a house in the 4600 block of Boxford Road Thursday.

Inspectors found such a large volume of items piled throughout the house, they classified the situation as a case of hoarding.

"I've never seen any activity or anything going on around there," Debi Polfleit told 13News. "I would never in a million years imagine that that's a hoarder house."

Polfleit was among people in the neighborhood who saw a number of employees from the City of Virginia Beach at the house Thursday.

"The gate was open, and I've never seen the gate open," explained Polfleit. "I thought it had to do something with pets because of the Animal Control."

Officers removed 8 animals from the house: a rat, a rabbit, a bird, and 5 cats.

Animal Control allowed owner, Jane Stemen-Jackson, to place 2 dogs with family members.

A spokesman for DNHP said the house smelled of animal urine and that, throughout it, Stemen-Jackson had items stacked halfway to three-fourths of the way from the floor to the ceiling.

Hoarding creates a potential danger to anyone in the house, neighbors, and public safety workers, especially during a fire.

DNHP gave her 30 days to clean things out. She and anyone helping her can go into the house only during daylight hours.

Stemen-Jackson told 13News the problem arose because of a long-standing issue with a neighbor. Although she described the situation at the property as an issue of "clutter," the spokesman for DNHP said a dumpster will be needed to begin to address the issue.

Stemen-Jackson declined 13News' repeated offer to do an on-camera interview with her Thursday and passed on the opportunity to take a crew on a tour of the house.

"It's sad. I hope the lady does what she's gotta do and takes care of it," said Polfleit. "It's sad. I wish her luck."

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