Tuesday, October 21, 2014

City eyes unsafe, vacant structures for demolition

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 5/3/2013

A picture of Jesus hung on the wall.

It was the only sign of peace in the chaotic clutter of trash piled on the rotting floor at 735 N. Mulberry St. in Ottawa.

A picture of Jesus hung on the wall.

It was the only sign of peace in the chaotic clutter of trash piled on the rotting floor at 735 N. Mulberry St. in Ottawa.

A photograph of the living room was one of several slides Wynndee Lee, the city’s planning and codes director, showed of the inside and outside of the structure to illustrate the level of disrepair the home had fallen into in this residential neighborhood on the city’s north side.

Ottawa city commissioners voted 3-0 Wednesday night to pass three resolutions condemning the Mulberry property and two others inside the city limits as being unsafe or dangerous. The resolutions directed that such structures be made safe and secure or be demolished.

In the case of the Mulberry Street single-family dwelling and storage shed, Lee said, the owner of the property had indicated she did not have the funds to repair or remove the property. Lee said the owner did not dispute the property was in a dangerous state of disrepair. The property currently is vacant.

As for the other two properties — a carriage house converted into a residence at 617 S. Elm St. and a single-family structure at 923 E. Ninth St. — Lee told commissioners the city had sent each owner at least a half dozen letters during the past year with no response. She provided slide presentations detailing damage inside and outside both structures, which also are vacant, during public hearings regarding the condemnation process.

No one spoke at the public hearing for each property.

Lee said the owners would be notified the condemnation process had started, and that if the city had not heard a response in 10 days, it would put out the demolition work for a bid and award the contract to the lowest bidder.

The structures all are on the delinquent property tax list, Lee said.

If the owners contact the city in the next 10 days to two weeks, Lee said, and are willing to repair or remove the structures, the city would work with the owners to set up a timetable to accomplish the task.

If the city does not hear back from the owners and the properties are demolished, Lee said, the city would place a lien on the properties to try and recoup the demolition costs in the event the owners attempted to sell the lots or redevelop them.

Linda Reed, mayor pro tem, ran the meeting for Mayor Sara Caylor, who was not in attendance Wednesday.

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