Time is running out for the owners of two properties the Stillwater City Council considered for condemnation in February 2020.
During that hearing, the Councilors agreed to work with the property owners as they either prepared for demolition or made repairs, but little progress has been made in either case, Special Counsel Beth Ann Childs said.
An apartment complex located just south of the city’s decommissioned Boomer Lake power plant at 723 W Highpoint Dr. has been unoccupied since May 2017, the council heard in its original briefing.
It has not had utility service since then and has been boarded up for more than two years.
The units have been found unsecured at times and holes in the roof provide access to mice and vermin, according to a City of Stillwater report. Water damage to the interior and structural damage to the supports for the second floor have been observed.
The stairways and balconies are rusted and deteriorated, with cracked concrete and loose handrails.
In February 2020, owner Melissa Sorrentino, who owns the apartments with Matthew McCollom and Richard McCollom, said they were willing to demolish the apartment but were concerned 90 days wasn’t enough time to get it done.
The council issued an abatement order with a 90 day deadline but said city staff could work with them if permits were in place and work was substantially underway.
In December, the apartments were still standing and Sorrentino asked for six more months to work with some parties who had expressed interested in buying the property, either with the building or as bare land.
When the Council met Monday, the apartments had not been sold and were still standing. Childs reported that the gas lines have been capped in preparation for tearing the structure down.
The council issued an order declaring the building dilapidated and ordering it to be demolished.
If the owners do not complete the demolition within 90 days, the City can have it done and bill them, filing a lien on the property if the bill isn’t paid.
Ricky Lynn Cole, the owner of a house at 3314 E. 4th Ave. that was damaged by fire in 2015, has repeatedly asked for more time to make repairs on the home he bought at a tax auction.
Cole’s sister Debbie Field appeared on his behalf to once again ask for more time. She said Cole has had health problems, they have suffered several deaths in the family and they are caring for their mother.
He already has many of the materials needed to make the repairs but needs time to get them done, she said. Field acknowledged that her brother had procrastinated in the past but insisted that the City of Stillwater has now “lit a fire under him.”
She said her brother is getting married and wants to make it a home for him and his wife.
After emphasizing that time has truly run out, the Council gave Cole until it meets on July 12 to make substantial progress on the house.
Childs recommended making rebuilding the fire-damaged roof the standard for progress.