County judge will be unsafe-building hearing officer
By Kitty Conley firstname.lastname@example.org April 16, 2013 11:50AM
Updated: April 16, 2013 3:17PM
CROWN POINT — The Board of Public Works and Safety on April 10 appointed Judge Julie Cantrell as the city’s formal hearing officer for unsafe buildings appeals.
Cantrell has sat in that capacity in the past as requested from one time to another. While the city does not have a lot of buildings in that classification, in accordance with new laws it needs to have someone fill that spot. Cantrell is not paid for this service.
City Attorney Joe Irak explained that while the city uses this infrequently, it is best to have this officer in place when and if the need arises.
Councilman Bob Clemons asked about the fees. Mayor Dave Uran said, “Any fees would cause the city to put a lien on the property to recover associated monetary amounts.”
Irak said, “The unsafe building law is very stringent. There are a list of procedures that must be followed.” The only exception would be if there were an emergency where the building would be a risk to neighbors.
He added, “We have had some success of people doing the destruction themselves. We would rather have homeowners take care of property themselves. One on Union Street after getting the Administrative Notice, the owner destroyed the building themselves.”
At one time a home just south of South Street on the East side of Court Street had an order for destruction. The house was open to the sky and had critters living inside. The destruction was delayed and delayed because the city could not get in touch with an absentee owner.
Finally the court did manage to get ahold of that owner and action was taken. The owner sold the home, and the new owner not only fixed up the building but made it a significant contribution to the Ruffle Shirt Hill historic district.