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Four properties targeted for disrepair

Staff writer

The Hillsboro City Council moved to condemn four private properties Tuesday. The three single-family residences and former gas station remain in various states of disrepair and are unsafe, officials said.

The city council unanimously passed resolutions for each of the blighted properties that set a public hearing in January to determine whether the structures ought to be repaired or demolished. The property owners did not attend Tuesday’s city council meeting and could not be reached for comment.

“Blight is in the eye of the beholder,” said city administrator Larry Paine. “This sets the process in place to review whether follow-up action needs to be done.”

Fire Chief Ben Steketee, acting in his role as code enforcement officer, said that the properties are dangerous and unfit for human inhabitation. Steketee said that after the Jan. 6 public hearing, city staff would research the cost of demolishing the blighted structures on the properties. The city may also choose to order the owners to make repairs. If an owner refuses to make ordered repairs, then the city can take action by placing a lien on the property.

The only commercial property in the city’s crosshairs is the former Prime Time Gas Station at 200 E. D Street. Other than a broken restroom door, it looks fine from the front, Paine said.

“The main problem is a deteriorating north wall that is not visible except to neighboring properties,” Paine said.

The former gas station and convenience store is owned by Sunshine Real Estate KS V, a limited liability company based in Palm Beach, Florida.

Steketee said that the canopy is losing sections of its decorative siding and that pieces of wood are falling off, which is dangerous. City officials said the underground storage tanks would have to be removed during demotion if they have not been removed already.

Council members also moved to condemn the house at 310 N. Washington. The small house has sustained roof damage, allowing rain and possibly animals inside.

“That one definitely has got to go,” said city council member Shelby Dirks.

The property is owned by Ken Koslowsky of Hillsboro and is under contract to be purchased by Dennis Gora. Property taxes on the house have not been paid in five years, officials said.

Mayor Delores Dalke said that the house at 310 N. Washington had come before the council years ago for possible code violations, but city officials “never did anything about it.”

Kevin Tidwell owns and occupies the house at 206 West B Street that does not have a proper doorway. Steketee sent Tidwell a notice to comply this summer but received no response.

The house at 108 S. Cedar St. is nearly completely gone after a demolition, leaving only the garage standing on the property. Steketee said that a lone garage on a residential parcel is illegal, and he informed the owner, James Braden of Marion, who buys ‘fixer-uppers’ and tries to rehabilitate them, that he must remove “all the structures.”

Paine said that if Braden continues rehabbing the property then city officials could choose not to condemn the property following the January public hearing.

Last modified Nov. 6, 2014

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