• Last modified 779 days ago (March 20, 2019)


City orders work on dilapidated house

Staff writer

Tired of pushing back and forth with owners of a dilapidated house at 312 W. Grand St., city council members voted Tuesday to hire contractors to bring the property up to code and charge the cost to the owners.

The house has been a point of contention since Oct. 2, when neighbor Kevin Bartel spoke to council members about the property, owned by Dick and Carla Hein. Bartel said he and other neighbors were tired of the condition of the house and that he considered it a nuisance because it attracted animals that used its open crawl space for shelter and had missing siding, plastic hanging in shreds over bare wood, and double doors blocked and unable to open.

Later that month, owners said they would work on the property, but not much progress was made at that time and council members did not want to leave room for the work to remain uncompleted.

By December, more work had been done on the property but not enough to persuade council members to rest easy. They declared the property a dangerous structure and gave the owners eight weeks to make significant improvement.

Building inspector Ben Steketee reported Tuesday that only a limited amount of progress had been made by the property owners, who had been cited for 10 code violations.

Perimeters of windows and doors are not weather resistant or watertight, exterior deck guard is not in place, bare wood is not protected from the elements, holes are in exterior walls, and the dwelling is a blight to surrounding properties, Steketee said.

“Of the 10 items, you have five left,” Steketee said.

City administrator Larry Paine recommended that the council move forward in the abatement process.

City attorney Josh Boehm explained available options. Council members could give the owners more time or hire contractors to do the work and bill the owners, adding the cost to their property taxes if they do not pay.

“I think we owe it to the neighbors who are living with it,” mayor Lou Thurston said. “I would also support this council moving to abate.”

Last modified March 20, 2019