Board moves forward on 2 blighted properties

The Warren County Redevelopment Authority is moving forward with taking control of one property through a conservatorship and looking at options for conservatorship or condemnation action at another.

Authority Solicitor Andrea Stapleford reported she had obtained an estimate for demolition, removal of debris and grading at the Wanda Miller property at 10 Railroad St., Clarendon. According to Stapleford, the work would cost approximately $16,000 out of the aproximately $28,000 the authority has available for demolition work.

Stapleford will continue to develop a cost plan for remediation of blight at the property and said she expects the process from planning to court appointment and initiation of work on the project to take two to three months.

Under a conservatorship, the authority would not own the property, but would be appointed by the court as controlling agent to complete blight remediation work. After completion, the property owner would retain possession of the site, but a lien would be placed against the property for re-payment of funds used towards the work.

Authority members are looking at the possibility of such an action at another property, but only as one of a number of possibilities of last resort if they cannot work out something with the owner.

Following the authority’s last meeting, County Planning Director Dan Glotz posted a notice at the Francis Matsock property at 819 Cider Mill Hill Rd., Russell.

According to the authority, there has been difficulty in communicating with the property owner to discuss possible alleviation of blight at the property.

The authority is looking at the possibility of a conservatorship or a condemnation of the property, in which the county would take possession of the property to alleviate blight but retain ownership after completion of work.

If action is taken toward condemnation or conservatorship at the site, the authority will look into the possibility of working with local fire departments to complete a controlled burn as a possible money-saving alternative to hiring someone for demolition work.

Authority members agreed another effort to contact the owner and work with her needed to be made before further action was taken. Authority members also agreed it would be best to present the possibility of doing a controlled burn to the property owner to see if she would agree to such an action without a conservatorship or condemnation.

The authority will be sending Matsock another letter and asking her to attend their February meeting.

Other properties discussed by authority members included:

The Emily Hecei property, formerly the Truver property, at 2393 E. Fifth Ave., Glade Township – Stapleford reported she has been told improvements are continuing at the property. She is attempting to contact Hecei herself to verify the information.

“From what the neighbors have said, she’s continuing to move forward with it,” she said.

The Bona property, formerly the Manelick property, at 123 Front St., Glade Township – Authority members reported no movement at the property, but it was discussed during the county blighted property committee’s last meeting. The owners, may be in poor physical condition and unable to do work at the site themselves. They had said they would hire someone to do work. Authority members agreed someone from the county should go look at the property and take some photographs.

The DiPierro property on Rt. 6 in Sheffield – It was reported John DiPierro had met with a representative of the authority who examined the property and verified that the site was used for storage and most necessary work to alleviate blight had been done. There is still a piece of metal hanging the authority has asked DiPierro to remove, but otherwise, the site was described as being in poor condition, but no longer blighted. It was noted the authority cannot take any action on a property just for being an eyesore.

The Michelle Hoover property, formerly the John Filiatrault property, at 106 Hall St., Sheffield Township – It was reported that the deed to the property, which was recently acquired by Hoover, had just been recorded on Jan. 10. The authority has sent Hoover a letter concerning the property and is waiting to see if any action is taken by the owner.

The Tonya Elletson property at 121 Farm Ln., Pleasant Township – Stapleford reported she had been in the area of the property and improvements the owner had agreed upon are not being completed. Glotz will call the owner.

The David and Judyth Smith property at 463 Pleasant Dr., Pleasant Township – It was reported that a dumpster has been at the property for some time, but work being done is not apparent from the exterior. Stapleford offered to contact the township and go look at the property with someone from the municipality. Warren County Chief Clerk Pam Matve will send the owners a letter asking about progress and request their presence at the authority’s February meeting.