Centerville creates appeals board to handle challenge by property owners

Sep 24 2012 - 11:35pm

CENTERVILLE -- Officials have approved the creation of an appeals board that will deal with the much-talked-about Chase Lane property that has been deemed an eyesore and safety hazard.

Assistant City Manager Blaine Lutz explained that the board will need to deal with the pending appeal soon. A meeting is scheduled for Oct. 3 to discuss the appeal.

The appeal will involve a building official's decisions regarding interpretation and application of construction codes, according to a city document. The official deemed the property to contain unsafe buildings.

"They have a right to challenge that," Lutz said of the property owners. "They do not agree it is a nuisance or hazardous."

With the appeal lodged, now the city needs to have an entity to address it.

Centerville did not have an established appeals board and asked if the state could handle the matter. That request was denied, so the city had to arrange a board of its own.

"These items come up so infrequently that it is hard to have an established board," Lutz said.

This newly established board includes building officials from other cities and building contractors.

The property, at 85 Chase Lane, has generated many public complaints and has been on the city's radar for some time.

Issues relating to property were the subject of meetings in September and October 2011, though the issues go back further than that.

The property, which has included a partially finished home for a number of years, has been deemed an eyesore and a safety hazard because of unfinished structures that are considered dangerous.

Lutz said the home became dilapidated and unsightly, in addition to being a safety hazard.

The city has been sending notices and talking about the problems with multiple parties since May 2011. Requests were made to the parties to either clean or demolish the property, thus terminating the dangerous building certificate.

Some progress has been made throughout the months regarding cleanup and safety, but not to the required levels. For example, broken or missing windows were boarded up.

Officials have considered options, such as making repairs and doing cleanup, then placing a lien on the property to recover costs. The city also has been working with various involved parties to get them to do the work.

"We want the situation remedied," Lutz said. "It needs to be improved so it is not dangerous and a nuisance.

"We would like the property owner to take care of the issues, but if it cannot get resolved, then the city may need to take the ultimate action of demolishing it. But you do not want to do that unless it is a last resort."

The issue has gone on so long, Lutz said he does not know if the property is salvageable at this point.

However, he said what will happen with the property and who will do it will need to be decided once the appeal issue is addressed.

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