Attorney David Baumgartner
A property on Jefferson Street in Berne which has been deemed both dangerous and an eyesore to the community could disappear within the next 30 days, members of Berne City Council learned at their monthly meeting on Monday.
The council's emergency adoption last month of an unsafe building ordinance set the stage for official city action at the property site, which reportedly has been the source of numerous citizen complaints.
Attorney David Baumgartner, sitting in on Monday for his law partner and city attorney Jim Beitler, said city building inspector Shannon Smitley, along with representatives from the city fire and police departments, recently inspected the building. On February 10, a letter was sent to the property owner stating that the structure must be cleaned up or demolished within 30 days.
The city's board of public works has scheduled a hearing for 4 p.m. on March 12. According to Baumgartner, if the site has not been cleared by that time, the board could order the city to raze the building and put a lien on the building. If the property owner fails to pay the necessary taxes and liens, the property could eventually be sold at tax sale, the attorney said.
Last month Beitler had said the lack of a dangerous building ordinance had tied the city's hands in its attempts to clean up the property. Beitler cautioned, however, that the new law does not mean the process of forcing property owners to clean up eyesores or potentially hazardous sites will be a quick and easy one. He said the legal process is still cumbersome and time consuming.