By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon city leaders’ patience finally ran out this week as city staff was authorized to tear down four vacant houses that have been in disrepair.
The Yukon City Council, at its regular meeting Sept. 19, voted unanimously to direct City of Yukon personnel to demolish the structures and clear the properties “as quickly as possible” in accordance with the Yukon City Code.
The addresses are 205 Cedar Ave., 211 Cedar Ave., 1019 Cedar Ave., and 1106 S 1st St.
The city council previously declared each property to be a public nuisance constituting “grave and immediate danger to the public peace, health, safety, morals or welfare.”
Council members had reviewed photos and documentation describing the conditions of the vacant frame houses, which have boarded-up windows, deteriorated exterior walls and damaged roofs.
Yukon resident Richard Hennick urged the council Tuesday night to act on their previous public nuisance declaration. He has lived next to one of the homes for 11 years.
“This property has been in a state of disrepair for at least 85 to 90 percent of that time – and vacant,” Hennick said. “This house has been ticketed, has been posted by the city countless times for many, many reasons.
“I believe the time to act is now. The owner … has had a lot of time to do something with these properties.”
Ward 3 Council Member Donna Yanda agreed it was time for action.
“I believe we’ve given him ample time and seen zero improvements,” Yanda said.
As part of their Sept. 19th action, the city council directed Yukon City Clerk Doug Shivers to “pursue recovery costs” related to the demolition if such work is done by Yukon city personnel.
Attorney Mark Hixson, representing property owner Dale Hurst, said Hurst retained a contractor who tried to obtain permits Sept. 14 to start repairs to the properties.
But those permits were denied because that was two days after a previously established deadline.
“You’ve given him 60 days and you gave him another 60 days,” Hixson told the city council. “There’s no excuse for that. I understand that. He understands that.
“But in the great scheme of things, we’re talking about four months. He’s prepared to begin repairs now. He’s got the finances available now. He’s got the contractor available now.”
Hixson argued that Yukon city officials should allow his client to make repairs to the properties rather than tearing down the structures and “having four lots on your hands.”
“I’m just asking for an extension, allow him to get those permits, allow immediately to begin (repairs),” the attorney said. “He believes that all four could be repaired sometime after the first of the year.”
Mayor Shelli Selby pointed out the city council already had given the property owner time extensions to meet with city staff to address the issues.
The Yukon City Council, at its May 2nd meeting, initially postponed for 60 days declaring the four properties as public nuisances after Hurst asked them for more time to bring them into compliance with city code.
At the request of Hurst’s attorney Mike Segler, council members on July 6 gave the property owner 60 more days to make noticeable progress remedying issues with the dilapidated structures.
Segler acknowledged the properties were in “disrepair” but pointed out there were “secure.”
Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort told council members these four properties have been given “multiple nuisance violations.”
“It’s been ongoing for years,” Hort said, noting each property has been abated at least once – some of them more.
Hort denied issuing the construction permits to Hurst’s contractor, determining the recent request came too late to “go over and rehash and try to do something.”
The owner did replace the roof on one of the houses – but failed to obtain the proper permits, Hort added.