City’s RDA waiting

The City of Warren Redevelopment Authority will not be moving towards conservatorship for a Beaty Street property.

At least not yet.

During their March meeting, authority members discussed the possibility of assuming conservatorship to resolve blight issues at 117 Beaty Street. City Code Official Alan Gustafson had asked authority members to consider petitioning the Warren County Court of Common Pleas for power over the property under the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act of 2008.

Conservatorship allows a “party in interest” to take steps to bring the building into compliance with all municipal codes and plans for the area.

The authority instead decided to have the city solicitor determine who is in charge of the property before taking any further steps.

The property at 117 Beaty Street has provided unique challenges for the authority due to the unusual circumstances under which it has been abandoned.

The residence was the site of a murder-suicide and, as a result, the owners are deceased. Due to the nature of the owners’ deaths, their estate has not taken steps to care for the property.

Gustafson said if conservatorship was approved the authority, a member of the authority, or a nearby property owner could be appointed to the position. Several neighbors in the area have already filed complaints about the property, he said.

“They’re looking to the city to do something about it,” he added.

Robert Kaemmerer, RDA treasurer, said there are a number of ways the property could be addressed: the city could tear down the property and put a lien on the property; the RDA could acquire the property and the cost of purchasing it and tearing it down; a neighbor could petition for conservatorship and incur costs to rehabilitate or demolish the property.

“Ultimately, somebody wants to tear it down,” he said.

“That’s the goal,” RDA Secretary Tricia Durbin said.

The authority also approved shifting the accounting functions held by the authority to the city staff.

Acting City Manager Mary Ann Nau said the idea is a good way to move forward because accounting is “lots of responsibility for a volunteer organization and it will “take the burden off of the committee.”