Upset property owner gets little solace from council

The owner of one of the four properties that prompted a Jan. 6 public hearing to address dilapidated or out-of-code structures appeared before the Hills?boro City Council during its Nov. 18 meeting.

Kevin Tidwell, owner and resident at 206 W. B St., repeated a claim he made at the Aug. 5 meeting that he keeps ?getting harassment from the city? about his property.

Tidwell?s specific issues this time were that the city is requiring him to replace the front door of his house, which he had removed and sealed off; to acquire a building permit to replace it; and to hire a professional contractor to perform the task.

?Why do I need a front door for the front part of the house if I?m never in that part of the house?? Tidwell asked. ?If I?m told I need to put in a door, I?ll put one in. But I don?t think I should be required to hire somebody to do something I could do myself (for my own home.)

?I?m trying to follow these rules about why you want to tear my house down, but are denying me from doing that.?

City Administrator Larry Paine responded, ?Let me reiterate what Ben (Steketee, building inspector) has told you. He has lost confidence in your ability to do anything on your property to meet code. You have repeatedly done work that has not been to code, and from that perspective, that?s why you are being required to have a contractor.?

Paine added, ?The notice you got the other day is not to condemn or tear down your house. It?s a notice of a public hearing Jan. 6 to talk about how you?re going to get a front door on that house.

?Between now and then, what I would suggest that you need to do is work with Ben and figure out how you?re going to get a front door put on that house. We don?t care if you don?t use that part of the house, it needs a door.

?If a door goes in it, and it passes Ben?s inspection with a contractor putting it in, no more trouble.?

Prior to his comments, Tidwell passed out photos he had taken of other properties in town ?that have been in disrepair since (the nine years) I?ve lived in this town and none of these have been fixed.?

Responded Paine: ?You need to worry about yourself and your property, and get that solved. Don?t worry about anybody else. You are only responsible for your property. You are not responsible for property everywhere else in this town.

?There?s a reason we do this,? Paine said about enforcing building codes. ?It?s for public safety. It?s for your safety, it?s for the safety of other people in that house besides you, and for people who would own that house after you because you?re not going to own it forever.?

Other business

In other business, the council:

? heard from Paine that Wal-Mart has awarded a construction bid for the proposed store in Hillsboro. He said the contractor likely will be seeking a building permit from the city within the next two to three weeks.

? heard Councilor Shelby Dirks suggest that the council consider off-setting any potential utility rate increases next year with sales tax revenue generated by the local Wal-Mart store. Dirks said other businesses would appreciate not having to absorb more increases.

? approved the purchase of a Toro 3040 field groomer, with two attachments, for a total cost of $25,050. The city will pay $17,758 for the three-wheel-drive vehicle while the recreation commission will pay $7,292 for the two attachments: an edger and a lip broom.

Doug Sisk had presented the proposal at the previous council meeting, but was asked to present additional bids.

? approved 4 p.m. Dec. 16 as the time and day for a public hearing regarding routine amendments to the 2014 city budget. The hearing will be in the council meeting room prior to the council?s regular meeting agenda.

? approved Ordinance 1255 to correct a surveying error by annexing two small areas of city-owned property along the east side of the water plant and place them within the city limits.

? approved Ordinance 1256 to correct an error in the Standard Traffic Ordi?nance for Kansas cities.

? met in executive session for attorney-client privilege at the end of the regular meeting, but took no action when the public session resumed.

? met after the meeting for a work session regarding utility-rate adjustments for the coming year.

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