Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Music store owner asks to buy condemned Ottawa home

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 11/11/2013

Ottawa city officials admitted Wednesday night it was a first — at least in recent memory.

When Sara Caylor, Ottawa mayor, opened the public hearing regarding condemnation of a single-family residence at 612 N. Main St., Princeton resident Calvin Rosey stepped forward to say he intended to purchase the dilapidated property and restore it to livable condition.

Ottawa city officials admitted Wednesday night it was a first — at least in recent memory.

When Sara Caylor, Ottawa mayor, opened the public hearing regarding condemnation of a single-family residence at 612 N. Main St., Princeton resident Calvin Rosey stepped forward to say he intended to purchase the dilapidated property and restore it to livable condition.

Once the commission approves condemnation of a property and notice is given, the property owner typically has 10 days to respond.

But given the unusual circumstance of having a willing buyer waiting in the wings, council members Mike Skidmore and Blake Jorgensen said they thought the commission should give Rosey, owner of the Ottawa Music store, 120 E. 19th St., a longer period to respond.

Other council members agreed. After voting 5-0 to condemn the property, the commission agreed to give Rosey 45 days in which to obtain the necessary permits with the city’s planning and codes department. Rosey also must provide the city with a plan for proposed changes to the property.

As long as Rosey obtains the permits and files the restoration plan in the allotted 45 days and demonstrates he is making progress on the project in the coming months, Wynndee Lee, the city’s director of planning and codes, said her department would be willing to work with Rosey. When possible, Lee said, the city would rather see properties renovated and remain on the tax rolls than see them demolished.

Rosey told commissioners he thought he could complete the project within one year and that it would be turned into an investment rental property. Rosey has successfully undertaken similar remodeling projects in the past, he said,

Commissioners also voted 5-0 to approve condemnation of three other Ottawa properties Wednesday.

Those properties, and a brief summary of the problems, included:

• A mobile home at 824 S. Cherry St. — The structure’s roof caved in under heavy snow in February and has been open to the elements ever since, Lee reported. Letters have been written since March 2013 regarding the condition of the structure, and there has been no attempt by the owner to solve the situation, Lee said.

• A mobile home at 1155 N. Sycamore St. — The structure has been vacant since 2010 and a window has been missing since 2010, leaving the structure open to the elements, Lee said. Letters have been written since March 2013 regarding the condition of the structure and there has been no attempt by the owner to resolve the situation.

• Single-family residence at 616 S. Locust St. — The residential structure has been vacant for several years. The home is in a serious state of dilapidation and is a blight to the neighborhood, Lee reported. The owner is incapacitated and unable to solve the situation in any foreseeable time frame, she said.

The city does not take ownership of the land once a property is condemned and demolished or removed, Lee said. The property owner retains ownership of the land and it is the owner’s responsibility to pay the tax bill for that property, she said.

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