Eye sore home addressed by Hillsboro Council

Hillsboro resident Kevin Bartel, 108 N. Cedar, spoke to the Hillsboro City Council Tuesday about a house in his area of town.

“I was wanting to find out the status of what our neighborhood calls the Hein house on the corner of Cedar and Grand,” he said. “We are also wanting to know what we can expect to see in the near future.

“This house has been in the same condition for nine years, and for us, it’s an eyesore,” he said.

Bartel said he believes there’s been plenty of time to do something with it, and he and the other neighbors are tired of looking at it.

“Some people are even furious about it,” he said, “and the way it’s been able to sit there for that long (without anything being done).”

Councilman Brent Driggers asked Bartel which side of the street it’s on.

“It’s the northeast corner from the street,” he said, “and it’s green and white.”

Hillsboro City Attorney Josh Boehm said this property came to the city’s attention in late spring or early summer.

“We made initial contact, and went over a list of unsafe conditions, and they were most concerned with the exterior envelope of the house,” he said.

Most of the back side of the house is tieback, Boehm said, and even now most of the wind has shredded it.

Bartel said: “Yes, and that’s what we have to look at all the time.

“With me being in construction industry for as many years as I have, that garage addition he has put on needs to be removed and replaced after nine years.”

Unsafe structure

Another safety factor, Bartel explained, is that there’s open crawl space windows around the house, and my wife and I have noticed cats, skunks and other critters looking for shelter.

Boehm said even with new windows put in, they were never trimmed.

“The balcony on the south side of the house has no railing, and those are some of the primary issues,” he said.

“A large tractor was parked there for a long period of time, and after a letter was sent, the tractor was moved,” he said.

The owner said he would get some things done, but at this point, Boehm said, a title search has been done and condemnation proceedings are being reviewed.

The lien holder on the property has a local presence, and we have reached out to them.

“We have given (the lien holder) 10 days to respond,” he said.

When dealing with properties, it’s either nuisance or an unsafe structures, he said.

“This property,” Boehm said, “it’s more than just a clean-up job, but not sure it needs to be bulldozed either.”

Code Enforcement officer Ben Steketee, Boehm said, is undecided as to whether it realistically should be torn down.

Bartel asked if any of the council members have looked at it or just drove by.

Mayor Lou Thurston said he has only driven by.

“It would probably cost $30,000 to $40,000 to fix it up and move into it,” Bartel said.

Boehm said all the city can really do is abate the unsafe part, but it would still be a shell of a home.

“We would probably need to look at tearing it down,” he said.

Thurston asked Boehm if the city in the near future can expect some action.

“So, by the next regular meeting we should have an update?” Thurston said.

Regarding the status, Thurston said there should be more information by Oct. 16.

Schaeffler House

Steve Fast, museum coordinator, said the city did work on the Schaeffler House in 2012 with a new roof, and we can get a tax credit for 25 percent of what we pay because it is on national register of historic places.

“What I would like to request is authorize selling the tax credits at least at 90 percent and designate that to repair the exterior of the Schaeffler House,” he said.

It would be replacing gutters and rotten wood.

Could it be broken up into four different people, Driggers asked.

But, Boehm said Fast would probably be looking for two because there are two credits.

The council unanimously approved allowing Fast to sell tax credits to one or more buyers as long as 90 percent or more is received.

The council, in other business:

◼ received request for construction work on D Street for mill and overlay and is $350,915. A second pay estimate will be available at the next council meeting for the striping and removing cones for that payment.

The council approved paying the mill and overlay unanimously.

◼ approved paying J & J contractors that are doing waterline replacement for reimbursement on what they have done so far, plus engineering expense totaling $273,823 as distribution of loan fund.