NE DC man chained himself to home in dispute with city

UPDATE: Judge Rigsby found in the District’s favor and granted the injunction that will allow DCRA to abate the fault with the foundation that has closed access to the alley for years.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A disabled, Vietnam veteran chained himself to the front door of his Northeast D.C. row home Wednesday morning in protest of what he said is an on-going dispute with the city regarding repairs to his home.

George Farris said he has owned his home near 6th St. NE and H St. NE for 37 years and that the public alleyway next to his home has been in disrepair. He said it came to a head on Christmas Eve 2015.

"Caused a partial collapse of the historic walls in my foundation," said Farris. He added that other parts of the home were also damaged and blames the alley, but the city has only agreed to pay for repairs to the foundation. "You’re either pregnant or you’re not. So, if they were negligent, I think it’s their duty to repair it to the standard to cover all the damage. Not just put in a stop gap measure so that they can so the alleyway."

He added that the city did not communicate with him what they were planning to do until this past June.

"They came to me the first time asking for a key to the house saying that they wanted to start construction in three days and I said, 'I haven’t even seen a set of plans'," said Farris. He added the when he did see the plans, he was not happy.

Farris claimed that while his house is not designated as historic, it has historical significance since it was built in 1862. He said the city's repair plans call for a removal of the original river stone that lines his basement wall to be replaced by concrete.

Since then, Farris said the city posted an abatement notice on his door announcing their intent to begin construction this week. He added they had also taken off his lock from the door and placed their own on it, which prompted him to chain himself to the door in protest.

Chanda Washington, a spokesperson from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, provided this statement to DCW50 News at 10 in response to Farris:

“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.”