SIDNEY — The Building Board of Appeals denied a property owner’s appeal on Thursday that the property at 714-716 E. Court St. is a dangerous structure.
The meeting was for the request of Chris Cavinder to appeal the residential building official’s November 2018 decision to deem the property a dangerous structure. Thursday’s meeting was a continuation on the matter after Cavinder did not show to the first meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Cavinder told the board Thursday he wanted to make it known that he was not notified about the Jan. 29 meeting and that he was not intentionally absent.
Cavinder said he did not dispute the claim that there is structural damage to the building’s roof. He did, however, dispute the claim that the building is a dangerous structure. One of the reasons Cavinder gave is that it is not a fire hazard. He pointed to a Sept. 5 letter he received from Assistant Fire Chief Cameron Haller which stated the building was not an unsafe building. Also, Cavinder said he did not think people or vehicles driving by would be in danger if something were to happen to the house because there is not a street within 100 feet of the location or any sidewalks on any side of the house. He also said there is not a house within about 100 feet of the west side of the house, where the roof is damaged.
“There is nobody close if something was to happen. I guess when I think about dangerous, I think about two things: there’s got to be something wrong, such as a damaged roof, busted step, or whatever. The second component of that is people. There are no people around up there based on the facts that I just said,” Cavinder said. “The only person the house is dangerous to right now is me, if I’m up there.”
Cavinder said he had measured the damaged roof many times over the last few years to see if it was dropping down further and so far had not seen more of it collapse. He admitted that it could change at some point, however.
Board member Tom Martin asked Cavinder what he intends to do with the property and said it may not be financially feasible to fix it up. Cavinder responded that he currently has no plan in place and wanted to see how the board will rule before he makes a decision about the property. Cavinder agreed that it may not be financially worth fixing up.
Cavinder told board Chariman David Durbin, when asked, the property had been unoccupied for three or four years.
Board member Kent Craver told Cavinder he agrees with Martin that it appears the property will be very expensive to complete the necessary repairs. Craver said with the house being unoccupied for a number of years already, it seemed to him that if he had plans to fix it up, he would have done so by now. Cavinder responded by saying that it was not a problem to himself or the city until recently, and that it was “out of sight, out of mind.” Cavinder continued by saying the property was “no big deal” and that he kept the grass mowed and took care of any busted out windows. Craver asked if he had any problem with people trying to enter the vacant building or if neighbors had complained about the condition of property. Cavinder said he had heard from neighbors that people were trying enter but had not found one police report about it. Cavinder also told Craver he heard a complaint from one neighbor about the condition of the property.
Board member Michael Goubeaux asked residential Building Inspector Dave Brulport if he had deemed other properties in similar condition to be a dangerous structure. Brulport said yes and that the East Court Street property meets the definition of a dangerous structure as there is a fall or collapse within the structure. Brulport told Cavinder the building has number of collapsed rafters. Cavinder again agreed with Brulport’s assessment of the roof.
Craver asked Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth about the zoning since the multifamily residential property had been unoccupied for so long. Dulworth said the area is currently zoned as an R-1 single family residential district. She said because the use has ceased for longer than two years, the only use that can now exist at the location is a single family dwelling. She said it can never go back to more than a single family residence.
Haller told the board his letter to Cavinder referenced the 2011 Ohio Fire Code and that he could only speak to the fire condition, not the collapsed condition. Haller also said it is a fact that a vacant building, secured or unsecured, is more at risk (of a fire) than an occupied building. Haller also said if the property were to catch fire it is still close enough to the other neighboring properties to affect them.
When asked, Cavinder told Durbin he was unaware the property could only be used as a single family dwelling, even if he rebuilt it. Cavinder also reiterated, when asked, that he does not have a plan for the property at this time.
After the discussion, the board unanimously voted to deny the appeal.
Durbin said he felt since there was no plan and that the condition of the property will continue to get worse, that was basis for the denial of the appeal.
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