Council takes action on ‘dangerous properties’

Following public hearings Jan. 6 regarding four resolutions that address ?dangerous structures? in town, the Hillsboro City Council took a variety actions in an effort to resolve each situation.

The four structures were residential structures at 108 S. Cedar St., 206 W. B St. and 310 N. Washing?ton St., and one business structure at 200 E. D St.

At the start of each public hearing, Ben Steketee, the city?s building inspector and code enforcement officer, provided history and background for each property under review.

Following time for public input, each hearing was adjourned and the council meeting was called back into session for action to determine if the structures were ?dangerous? and should be removed.

? 108 S. Cedar. Steketee reported that owner James Braden of Marion had intended to rehabilitate the vacant house, but in recent weeks decided instead to raze the structure. The rubble is still on the lot, along with a garage that Braden wants to preserve as a shed for equipment to maintain the lot.

Steketee said city code does not allow a garage on a lot without an accompanying house.

After considering its options, the council voted 4-0 to require Braden to remove the construction debris within six months, but allowed him to keep the garage on the property providing it was properly maintained.

It was suggested the council review the current code regarding garages.

? 200 E. D St. Steketee reviewed the situation at the former Prime Time Gas Station location. The biggest problem is a deteriorating north wall that is not visible except to neighboring properties. Also, siding is falling off the overhead canopy, creating a danger to children and others in the vicinity.

Attending the meeting was a contractor representing RB Construction based in Overland Park, which had recently been hired by the out-of-state ownership company to repair the property.

Doug Wright, owner of an automotive business across the street from the property in question, said the property was an eyesore and beyond repair. He stated his belief that underground gasoline tanks beneath the concrete slab had not been removed because the state was still testing his property for leaks.

The council voted 4-0 to recess the hearing until Feb. 2 to clarify the status of the gasoline tanks. In addition, the council agreed with a suggestion by Wright that the city ask its engineer to review the property to see of it was actually repairable.

? 206 W. B St. This property, owned Kevin Tidwell, had been addressed at two previous council.

The key issue currently was an order to add a front egress door to the house. The project was completed by the owner, but not according to code because the door did not have the required 32-inch clearance as outlined in city code.

When Tidwell disputed the city?s interpretation of the code, City Attorney Josh Boehm said it was not appropriate to argue code at a public hearing. Instead, he should go be through the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Tidwell got a similar response when he tried to argue the city?s interpretation of city code regarding the use of wood panels at the foot of a stairway to keep his dogs from having access to the upstairs. Code defines the practice as unsafe and a potential hazard in the event of a fire.

The council voted 4-0 that appropriate repairs be made to the property to meet code. As long as Tidwell was making progress on the project?whether by making the repairs or appealing the code, he would be considered in compliance with the resolution.

? 310 N. Washington. The primary issues with this property were a bad roof and overgrown vegetation around the structure.

Dennis Gora, who is buying the house under contract, asked the council to give him time to repair those issues with the intention to sell the house.

The council voted 4-0 to give Gora six months to bring the house up to code, including the removal of the overgrowth.

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