Lexington city employee’s historic home that racked up multiple code violations sold

·4 min read

A South Ashland Avenue home owned by the director of historic preservation for the city of Lexington — which had racked up a series of code violations over several years — has been sold.

Bettie Kerr, the longtime director of historic preservation, confirmed the home at 128 Ashland Avenue has been sold.

Property transfer records show the home sold for $331,000 to My Kentucky Home LLC the week of Jan. 23.

“I did what I said I was going to do,” Kerr said in an interview. “The transaction has been completed and the sale is of record.”

During a July 13 administrative hearing regarding code violations at 128 South Ashland Avenue, Kerr agreed to sell the house in lieu of making fixes. According to records obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader through an Open Records Act request in July, Kerr had 30 days to put the home under contract with a real estate agent. She was to have sold the home in January.

Kerr, in a previous interview, said she did not have the money to keep up with all the fixes needed to the home at 128 South Ashland Avenue. Kerr also received violations for a home next door at 124 Ashland Ave. Both homes are in a historic district. Kerr inherited both homes.

Kerr, as director of historic preservation, has say on exterior fixes to homes in historic districts.

Alex “Cash” Olszowy, director of code enforcement for the city, said Kerr has complied with the conditions set forth in July and the case is now closed.

Both homes have been cited in the past by city inspectors.

Multiple fines, violations

Tarp lies on part of the roof of one of two homes owned by Lexington’s director of historic preservation, Bettie Kerr, on South Ashland Avenue. Bettie Kerr had been repeatedly cited by code enforcement for several issues on both homes. July 22, 2021.
Tarp lies on part of the roof of one of two homes owned by Lexington’s director of historic preservation, Bettie Kerr, on South Ashland Avenue. Bettie Kerr had been repeatedly cited by code enforcement for several issues on both homes. July 22, 2021.

The Lexington Herald-Leader obtained documents related to code violations at 124 and 128 South Ashland through an Open Records Act request.

In total, Kerr has paid $2,800 in fines related to code violations at both homes, according to records obtained by the Herald-Leader.

In December 2018, code enforcement issued 13 different violations for various problems with the front porch at 128 South Ashland Ave. Some of the issues that needed to be fixed: Repairing floor joists and door frame sills and paint. The repairs were not completed in 60 days, according to city records. Kerr was issued a $300 fine

In March 2019, documents show that Kerr was to get financing to help make the necessary repairs by August 2019. In September 2019, code enforcement inspected the property and found the code violations had not been fixed. Kerr was fined $500. In November 2019, code enforcement inspected the property and noted the repairs weren’t fixed. Kerr paid a $750 fine.

In December 2019, Kerr was fined $1,000 for failing to make fixes to the property.

On April 17, 2020, the city closed the case because all the necessary repairs had been made, city records show.

On July 24, 2020, Kerr was cited for failing to get all the appropriate permits for an exterior renovation. Code inspectors also found various problems with the back of 128 South Ashland. The code enforcement citation asked her to repair chimneys that were leaning, rafters that were damaged and roofing that was leaking and damaged.

On Sept. 24, 2020, Kerr got the appropriate permits for the building. City officials said construction workers had a permit but not the right permit for the type of work they were doing on the home.

On May 24,2021, code inspectors returned to the property and found the code violations cited on July 24, 2020, had not been corrected. “I observed further deterioration, which cannot be ignored. As a result, there are additional code violations that were not in the original notice,” the code violation said.

In an interview in July, Kerr said as the costs continued to climb to make necessary fixes, structural engineers found more problems at the home at 128 South Ashland Ave. She could not afford to make all of those repairs and was overwhelmed trying to keep up with the problems at both 124 and 128 South Ashland Ave.

That eventually lead to Kerr agreeing to sell the home at 128 South Ashland Ave.

City officials said Kerr did not receive special treatment during the three-year ordeal. Many code violation cases take years to rectify. Kerr also didn’t appeal the early citations and paid the fines, city officials previously said. Homeowners who appeal citations can ask for additional time to make repairs. Kerr never asked for that, officials said in July.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting