The Duncan Banner

March 14, 2013

Council hears from property owner on hit list

Megan Bristow
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN —  

The Duncan City Council was feeling generous during Tuesday’s council meeting, granting extensions to the property owners of four properties that were to be considered for abatement.
Two of the four properties, located at 517 and 519 W. Beech, are owned by Albert Loveless. Duncan Code Enforcement personnel have been watching these properties and warning the owner that repairs were needed since March 2011.
“We have gone through the public nuisance hearing process and through the appeal process,” Community Development Director Dana Schoening said. “There had been, in this particular case, an appeal in the form of a letter that we did receive stating repairs that would be provided to this structure.”
Loveless was told of changes that should be made to the house.
“There has not, in my opinion working in that department, been any progress,” Schoening said. “We sat down with the property owner on a few occasions. Nothing really has been done. In my opinion and I have stated it to the property owner, I think the property is continuing to get worse. Despite the pledges to get it improved, it is getting worse.”
Loveless told the council that while he has bought siding and roofing for the structures he has not had the strength to put them on the structures without help.
“I am living on $900,” he said. “It is really tight to stretch $900 a month, pay bills and buy materials. I have had to buy materials a little at a time and stock them up so they could be added to the properties. There has not been a lot done to the outside, as you can see, but there is on the interior. If it is not fixed on the inside, there is not any reason to fix outside.”
He asked the city for understanding because he has not had the money to hire somebody to do the work for him and equated it with the situation the city finds themselves in believing it to be similar.
“Like the city on our streets that are dilapidated or torn up, they do not have the money appropriated to work on our streets,” Loveless said. “I do not have the money appropriated to hire somebody to do the work the city as asked me to do.”
Despite the owner’s pleas, Schoening recommended the council order abatement of the property as these repairs have been requested for two years.
“What you have heard this evening, I have heard on numerous occasions,”  he said.
The council unanimously agreed with Schoening’s recommendation for abatement and proceeded to the properties with different owners. However, when the council reached Loveless’s second house on the agenda, Loveless once again asked them to reconsider.
Loveless told the council he was currently using the second house to store his stock of materials for both houses. He said it did not make any sense for him to be out the materials plus the houses when he could get them put on with more time.
“That is just money that I didn’t have to spend if we are just going to throw it in the trash,” he said. “That is not human. I mean, that is not American. I need a chance to complete what I have started. I am not a quitter.”
The council agreed to give him 30 more days for both properties. The properties will be reconsidered at the end of one month’s time.
The second property on the agenda, located at 204 N. 5th, was originally proposed for abatement. However, Schoening told the council he had driven by the structure on Tuesday and noticed the property managers had taken the dilapidated porch off the structure and had filled several bags with trash from the property. They had also put a new coat of paint on the house. 
“If there had not been any work done on the structure, I would recommend to have it declared,” Schoening said. “There it still needs to be work done, in my opinion, but I think they should be given time to finish that up. I am thinking possibly 30 days to complete their improvements.”
The council approved the 30-day extension for 204 N. 5th before moving on to the property at 317 N. C.
“They have brought a dumpster to the site,” Schoening said. They have already started working on the interior of the structure. I cannot say it looks any better on the outside than it did before.”
Though the property owners were not at the meeting for comment, Schoening recommended to the council that they be given more time for improvements.
“The properties around it are in pretty good shape,” he said. “I think this has the potential to be one of these properties. I think the fact that progress has been made to this point is enough progress to give them a little more time. I think we certainly need to bring it back. I am saying 60 days. I think that would be reasonable in this case.”
The council agreed to Schoening’s recommendation. The property will be revisited by the council in 60 days.