ICLINTON — Members of the Hansen family have appealed an order of demolition for their residence at 653 Sixth Ave. South.

Two sons of Alicia and Paul Hansen Sr., Paul Meeks and David Hansen, addressed the Clinton City Council Committee of the Whole recently. Meeks asked the committee for more time to fix the items listed in Building Inspector Mike Harmon’s report following a rental inspection on April 24. The home is ordered for re-inspection and demolition on Sept. 28.

According to the report, Harmon stated his office received a formal written complaint for a demolition inspection at the residence, as well as a complaint from the lower unit tenant of the duplex on April 12.

On April 24, Harmon performed a rental inspection at the request of a tenant complaining that there was no electricity or gas service to the unit. The inspection revealed that both the front and rear porches were unstable and sagging or dangerous, missing windows, a missing ceiling in the bathroom and no plumbing to the bathroom sink.

Harmon also found improper drafting on the water heater due to improper installation, rotted soffit and a deteriorating roof, holes in the hallway and living room walls and open splices in the electrical system and improper wiring in the living and sleeping rooms.

In a letter to Paul Hansen Jr. dated April 25, Harmon advised Hansen that because of the serious porch issues and structural concerns, the house could not be rented until all the violations were corrected and approved by the Planning Department.

“Further, it appears unstable even as an owner-occupied dwelling,” Harmon wrote.

On July 24, the residence at 653 Sixth Ave. South was determined to be a dangerous building. A letter from Planning Director John Staszewski was sent to Paul Hansen Jr. on July 26 notifying him that the house had been determined to be a dangerous building and was ordered to be demolished. The letter directed Hansen to obtain a demolition permit from the Public Works Department or file an appeal within 10 days of the date of the letter. On Aug. 1, the city received a letter from Alicia Hansen dated July 31 formally appealing the demolition order.

On Tuesday, Meeks told the council that the family was requesting six months to perform the necessary repairs to the home. He noted that his parents were unable to attend the meeting because of personal reasons. Meeks said that he is aware the porches need work, but he didn’t feel the house is dangerous. He said that the repairs inside the house are minor and he and his brother intend to tear off both porches and replace them with stairs. He told the COW that if the family can have an extra six months, they can get the house into proper order.

Harmon summarized his report for the council and then explained that a demolition inspection was not completed because a rental inspection was completed on April 24 and requirements and standards for the inspections are identical. Harmon noted many violations including the sagging porches, exposed wiring, missing ceiling and holes in the walls and advised that other violations included a cracked support beam for the second level and an uncleanable plywood floor. He said the house has been a nuisance property for over 10 years and called it an “unsafe situation.”

City Attorney Matt Brisch asked Harmon if he felt the building was deteriorated to the point where it may fail and Harmon replied that the roof has deteriorated but there is no way to determine at what point it would fail or fall. He said he was unable to inspect the upstairs apartment because it was owner-occupied and could not definitively say that the roof was leaking.

Brisch asked if Harmon felt the house is a public nuisance or hazard and Harmon said that in its current condition, it is. Second Ward Councilman Mike Kearney asked Harmon if the family was given extra time, would the repairs be achievable given the condition of the property and the ability of the brothers to complete the repairs. Harmon said he had worked with David Hansen on a property before and was confident in his abilities, but noted he felt the house would be a “money pit.” At-Large Councilman Ron Mallicoat asked if the family would have the means to fix the house and Harmon said that Paul Hansen Jr. told him previously that the family did not have the money to fix the problems.

David Hansen said that the money to fix the home would be coming out of his and his brother’s pockets. He advised the council that he does roofing for a living and could easily perform the repair work, but because he works throughout the week, could only work on weekends and therefore needed more time. Meeks said that vehicles and debris had been removed from the yard at the residence and the porches had been cleaned off in advance of being torn off. He told the council that the family was making progress, but slowly, and needed more time to perform the repairs in a proper and safe manner.

Brisch advised the committee that they could direct him to place a resolution for findings of facts on the next agenda, thereby advancing the demolition order, or the committee could allow more time to attempt to fix the violations. Kearney said he didn’t know why the committee should allow more time to fix the house. David Hansen said that the family has been completing repairs as time allows and assured the council that progress would be made on the residence. Kearney asked if the family would allow Harmon to reinspect the house on Sept. 28, including the upstairs, and come back to the council with an update on the progress of the repairs so the committee could make a decision on current information. Meeks said that would be acceptable. A motion to address the issue again during a COW agenda after the inspection on Sept. 28 was approved.

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