The Hillsboro City Council decided at its May 15 meeting to solicit bids for razing the red-brick building at 128 S. Main in case the city judge rules the structure poses a danger to the public.
City Administrator Larry Paine said a hearing was held April 23 to determine whether the owner of the building should be ordered to repair or remove the structure.
The owner was present at the hearing and asked the judge to delay his decision one month so he could determine whether the city’s estimate of the cost of improvements was excessive.
The owner also asked that he be given the opportunity to make improvements to the building that would remove the conditions that spurred the complaint.
Paine said the property owner asked during the hearing if the city would provide an estimate of how much it would cost to remove the building.
“Evidently, he was the owner of the property on North Lincoln where several dilapidated houses were removed (a few years ago),” Paine said.
“In my opinion, it would be better for the property owner to take responsibility for the removal of his own building,” Paine said. “We should, however, provide the court an estimate for demolition costs. We would ask the court to have the property owner pay for the demolition in advance.”
City Attorney Dan Baldwin, who had attended the hearing, said it was his impression from a previous council meeting that the city would seek an outside company to remove the building rather than using city staff.
Mayor Delores Dalke agreed with Baldwin’s recollection, saying the council had favored an outside company because of liability issues as well as the work load of the staff.
“I also want to say I’m not in favor of buying that property and paying him a big bunch of money for it, and then we go in and do all the work on it,” Dalke said. “That’s what he really wants us to do.”
Baldwin said depending how events unfold once the judge makes his decision, “It’s very likely that this ends up with a city decision on how it comes down regardless, and then moving to attach those costs (of removal) to the lot (lien).”
Safe routes to school
The council approved two items related to the Safe Routes to School project. The first one was to approve Resolution 2012-04, indicating the city’s support of the project for the application to be submitted to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
The second step was to authorize the mayor to sign an engineering contract with Evans, Bierly, Hutchison & Associates. The $35,000 fee would be split between the city and the school district. The city’s portion would come from the 2012 Capital Improvement Program budget.
Council members viewed a preliminary map of the sidewalk project that identifies six phases that could be completed as funding allows.
The council approved both initiatives after Paine clarified that no city money would be spent on the project until the application is approved by KDOT and the city gathers input from property owners who might be affected.
In other business, the council:
• approved Ordinance 1219, which would make official a Planning Commission recommendation to change the zoning at 208 S. Madison from “single-family residential” to “institutional.” The zoning change will accommodate the construction of a small dormitory for Tabor College students at that location.
• met in executive session with the city attorney to discuss possible litigation.
• heard Councilor Shelby Dirks suggest the city look into adding a third cardboard collection bin at the recycling center because the two on site are almost always filled.
• heard Councilor Barney McCarty report that a resident near Tabor College said he had received no notice about the annual student-organized “Taborstock” music event and did not appreciate the noise.
Paine said he would contact college officials to make sure students submit a request for a noise variance each year from now on.
• discussed potential dates to meet with representatives from nearby township boards regarding a proposal to create a new fire district. The list of dates will be circulated among the township representatives.