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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Building Board takes rare action in demolition issue

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Monett Building Board met this week to act on a house damaged in a fire deemed to be dangerous. Shown are, from left, City Commissioner Jerry Dierker, board member Keith McCracken, Monett Building Inspector Wade Ennes, board member Steven DeSutter, and board chairman Joe McConnell. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The Monett Building Board, assembling for only the second time in the past 16 months, met this week at the Monett Justice Center and ordered the demolition of a house on Marshall Hill that had a major fire in September.

Building Inspector Wade Ennes testified at his first meeting after taking over the top inspector's position from retired Building Inspector George Rausch. In question was the property at 314 Pearl. Ennes reported the house was owned by the late Allene Bohanan. The house has not been in inhabited since the fire though a relative occasionally stays there overnight.

The family has no insurance and no funds to either repair the house or tear it down, Ennes said. No assessment of the building's structural integrity was presented.

"It's a dangerous building. It needs to come down," said Chairman Joe McConnell.

Board members unanimously approved McConnell's motion to tear down the structure. Action came after Ennes explained the family had disputed an attempt to transfer ownership to grandchildren, after which the original legal arrangement took precedence, McConnell said another case he knew had no title and the matter has been tied up for more than two years.

The Bohanan family had expressed an interest in giving the property to Habitat for Humanity. McConnell questioned if any action was possible unless the estate was run through probate.

The Monett/Purdy Habitat for Humanity affiliate is presently working on its second house in the neighborhood. Ron Overeem, chairman of the Habitat site committee, said the Habitat board would meet soon to discuss the matter. Overeem had a $6,000 estimate for demolition and was not sure the Habitat board would want to pay that to get the property.

City Administrator DEnnes Pyle said he would back Ennes's recommendation to demolish the building without delay. The cost would be put on a tax lien against the property. A demolition order from the Building Board would simplify the situation.

Board members appeared satisfied with the resolution. Pyle said if Habitat had not addressed the situation in 30 days, the city would take action to removed the structure. City Commissioner Jerry Dierker said the city would likely seek its own bids to raze the house.

The Building Board last met on March 16. At that time the single matter of business was a 20x75 foot shed on the Olympia Foundry property. One of the 2009 floods had blown out the structure's walls and eroded the support structure. Ennes said there was concern that in another high water situation, the shed could collapse and be washed into Kelly Creek and cause worse flooding.

Steven Olson, of Chardon, Ohio, who bought Olympia in 2004, had reported a bank had foreclosed on the property. Olympia ceased operation in August 2008. Ennes reported the bank apparently never completed the foreclosure. According to county records and a title search, Olson and his company, Daedelus Holdings LLC, remain the official owners.

The meeting to address the Olympia matter was postponed when it was discovered all of the parties owed money by Olympia had not been notified. After notice was completed, the board recommended the action. The Monett City Council backed the decision and the shed was removed.

The cost was added to around $14,000 in unpaid electric bills that represent the city's lien against the building.

In both cases, the Building Board has confined its focus to demolition matters.

"I wanted to use the Building Board for demolition purposes only," Ennes said. "They are who the city has appointed to approved that. The City Council has the final okay. Because of the process it takes to get to the board, a better time frame was needed. We use the Municipal Court for property maintenance issues. I felt we could get a faster turnaround in court."

Ennes has been pleased with how his office has continued to work with the court on clean-up scenarios. At the present time, Assistant Building Inspector Jeff Brattin has around 32 properties with cases in court.

"The Building Board is important." Ennes said. ""I wanted to try having the court handle cases that have been dragging in the past. We haven't done this long enough to see how it turns out.

"I feel we could see a good overall look in the city over the next year. I'm hoping to see a better looking town in that time frame," Ennes added.

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