Marion council pushes for property repair

The Marion City Council at its March 2 meeting tabled condemning one resident?s property, but said if no plan is in place by the next meeting, the city will look at demolition proceedings.

The property at 432 Arbor is owned by Bradford Harrington.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said he believes the time for talking is over.

?You have not been, in my mind, a responsible land?owner in this town,? Heit?schmidt told Harrington.

?Your properties look atrocious. If you don?t have funds to take care of it, please tell us why we should give you the benefit of trying to do something with these properties.

?We have 1,900 other people who live in this town that are disgusted with the way we allow property owners to get by without being responsible,? he said.

Heitschmidt said the council needs to know Harrington?s plan to make the two properties presentable.

?I am going to require that you show us you have the funds to do what you need to do to get that property in shape,? Heitschmidt said.

Heitschmidt directed the city administration to have something to him by the next council meeting.

?Because if we don?t have something, we will proceed to tear it down,? he said. ?And I think you need to come up with a plan to tell us how you are going to repair this other house so it looks like it belongs there and isn?t an eyesore.?

City Administrator Roger Holter said he would work with Harrington about a plan and have something to present at the March 16 council meeting.

Harrington?s response

In a letter dated Feb. 26 to the council, Harrington wrote:

?My plan is the same as it was before you involved the city in my property: find a buyer to remodel or tear down. Now I probably won?t find a buyer with your deadlines for tearing down looming over any possible deal I might make.

?I?ve already lost one buyer because of your deadline. All I can do is keep trying. I would like to make a business location out of the small house, but I can?t afford to install water lines and electricity.

?I?m willing to tear off the back of the house and paint the whole house, but you didn?t sound favorable to that idea.?

Holter said the council could adopt a resolution that would allow someone to repair the two-story house in 160 days.

Harrington asked what would happen if someone was working on the house, but didn?t finish in the timeframe required.

Holter said: ?If we have a bona fide developer and he is in the process of working (on the house), then as administration, we would not recommend condemning the property regardless of ownership.?

City’s position

?Our position is we need to help (Harrington) restore property,? Holter said, adding that for the smaller structure, the resolution would recommend 60 days.

Harrington said he hasn?t actually done the paperwork at the courthouse regarding a possible buyer, but the plan was to have that done before the next meeting.

?(The possible buyer) is interested and wants to pay me for it,? he said.

Holter said there are two ways to handle this property. One way would be to pass a resolution to have the Arbor Street property destroyed in the timeframe.

?The other way would be to pass a resolution which solidifies an agreement that all parties understand that the necessary repairs and/or sale of property must occur,? he said.

Based on Councilor Chad Adkins? idea to resolve the problem about a month ago, Holter said the council talked about restoring the two-story house within 120 to 160 days.

?This resolution set repairs to be completed by Aug. 10,? he said. ?If not (repaired) then the resolution for condemnation would be an October timeframe.

?The intent of the condemnation process is not to destroy (property), but restore to inhabitable conditions.?