City ready to bid demolition of dilapidated properties

Michelle Charles/Stillwater News Press The property at 4920 N. Washington, known as Spav's, is slated to be bid for demolition by the City of Stillwater after property owners failed to secure permits. 

A progress report to the Stillwater City Council on the state of demolition on dilapidated structures came with a hitch Monday – there wasn’t a whole lot of progress. About seven properties were in the crosshairs as deputy city attorney Dennis McGrath gave his report. Of those, only one had secured a permit for demolition. Six properties had not requested a permit, and the owner of two of those is taking the City to court.

“Some of the properties have progressed as you have desired,” McGrath said. “Some have not.”

McGrath listed four properties under the McCollom Family Partnership: 214 N Main, 216 N Main, 1023 W. 10th and 4920 N. Washington (Spav’s). McGrath said that, to date, “no permits or anything had been requested by the McCollom family, so that one is pretty much in the same status as when I came to you the last time.” The last time the structures were discussed publicly was an August council meeting.

He said the property owner of 711 W. 9th had obtained a permit for its demolition, which is scheduled, “and should progress as anticipated.”

McGrath said 502 and 506 S Lowry, vacant residential structures where “upwards of 20 years where they’ve been trying to do something with the property, no permits have been requested, no permits have been denied or anticipated … however the owner Dan Amen has filed a lawsuit against the city trying to prevent any action against those properties."

The council discussed how they move forward. The answer was that it didn’t require any action by Council because it was already decided that any properties that didn’t make the deadline would be subject to the City bidding them out for demolition and placing a lien on the property for the cost of demolishing them.

“We have already prepared all the bid specifications and based on your recommendations tonight we will start that process of publishing those bids,” City Attorney John Dorman said.

Owners have the option of paying for demolition up front, Mayor Will Joyce said, to avoid having a lien placed on their properties.

In his quarterly report to the Stillwater Economic Development Authority, director of the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce Justin Minges said he would hope Council would continue to focus on dilapidated buildings.

“I know they’re tough conversations but I appreciate it,” Minges said. “We’ve tried to land folks inside the TIF district – we had this conversation at our economic development committee the other day – it’s tough to justify some of the prices that folks want for the land when they can look at some of their neighbors and see that maybe we haven’t done the things to protect their investment in that area.”

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