After a review of engineering studies and reports, Wapakoneta city administrators approved five buildings to be demolished this fall using Community Development Block (CDBG) money.
Mayor Rodney Metz released a 75-page report Thursday to the Wapakoneta Daily News detailing the buildings to be torn down including homes at 311 E. Auglaize St., 701 Wheeler Lane and 902 Bellefontaine St. The list also includes the residence at 202 E. Mechanic St., which was part of a civil lawsuit more than a decade ago, and the residence attached to an ice cream store at 901 Bellefontaine St.
“Basically, this is our only method to eliminate problem code violations, slum and blight and to ensure the future safety and welfare of residents in the city,” Metz told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “We can take them (property owners) to court and they will be ordered to do something, many times we end up back in court so what else can we do.
“We can fine them and many don’t have any money and they won’t pay, so what else can do to eliminate slum and blight in the community,” the mayor said.
Safety-Service Director Bill Rains said property owners could approach the city about use of the funds and the award was not income based.
The city received $35,700 for this year’s demolition program.
Wapakoneta Engineering Department Supervisor Mary Ruck received requests to demolish buildings and members of her department surveyed the city for other properties which met the requirements of the program.
Metz said one of the first requirements is the residence or property must have code infractions and violations and the property owner must be willing to sign papers permitting the city to raze the structure. An historical survey also is conducted to ensure the property is not of some historical value.
He said abuse of the program is unlikely since it would take years of violations and possible court action.
The mayor also noted houses razed in the past and on the list this year may not be on property where the owner could build new to take advantage of the demolition because the lot is not large enough to conform with the building code and setbacks.
Metz and Safety-Service Director Bill Rains received a list from Ruck last week of possible properties for CDBG demolition this year. They reviewed the list and approved the five highest ranking structures.
The list does not include engineer’s estimates at this time, so the total number of projects approved for demolition may be reduced because of a limit of funds.
Among those on the list includes the house at 311 E. Auglaize St., owned by Connie and Patrick Alstaetter, of Anna, and was the site of a Feb. 26, 2010 fire. A fire safety inspector deemed the house a “dangerous building.”
The structure at 701 Wheeler Lane, owned by Janet and James Clark, violated the building code with notes that the foundation was settling, sill plates were rotted, siding was coming off and window sills rotted, according to a city report. The porch separated itself from the house, a floor joist was rotting and there were rodents in the structure.
A city report regarding the structure at 202 E. Mechanic St., owned by Penny and Gerard Debortoli, noted the foundation was deteriorating and falling out, a number of broken window panes and boarded windows, brick is cracked and pulling apart in four places, front porch is falling off the house, roof is bad and leaking and the exterior trim is rotted.
The city report regarding the structure at 902 Bellefontaine St., owned by Ann Bruns, of Lakeview, included a list of correspondences between Ruck and Bruns and a private professional structural engineer Mike Bow.
A report submitted by Bow to the Engineering Department found similar problems with the house including a foundation wall settling, block walls deteriorating and the framing of the front porch needs reconstructed as well as other problems. Bow re-inspected the structure and noted no work had been done.
The rear house, owned by Kelli and Tobias Lee, at the back of Max’s Dairy Bar be demolished. Ruck’s report noted the foundation walls of the structure are deteriorating and settling, sewer line is broke, first floor system is falling into the basement, retaining wall in basement fell down, no operating furnace in the structure and supports in the basement are holding up the foundation.
Metz said he was shocked at the condition of the house on the rear of the building because the homeowners had taken care of the outside to make it look presentable. The mayor explained the basement will have to be dug out and back-filled.
He said he would review the report with any resident who questioned the properties on the list.