UTICA — On Monday night, Utical Village Council held a public hearing pertaining to the 339 Buena Vista property. No one was present to represent the property owners, although attempts have been made to contact them concerning delinquent tax foreclosure and the condemned property. Attempts have also been made at their current addresses to serve the owners, but contact was not made.
“We have tried on several occasions through certified mail, regular mail and had the police department try to track [the owners] down,” said Mayor Larry Friesel.
“These people owe nothing on the property as far as a loan, they just walked out and abandoned it and let it go to tax foreclosure,” said Friesel. “The house when they left seven years ago wasn’t that bad.”
Now the house is in disrepair, he said, and the property has become a hazard and needs to be torn down.
Village Solicitor Sara Light told council a notice and a hearing has to be given to the property owners.
“It has to be a 30-day notice unless the municipal court declares it to be an emergency situation, and I hear that there is justification for doing so,” she said.
The mayor agreed.
“I don’t think that there is any question about it that it is an emergency situation,” he said. “Our building inspector believes it is an emergency situation, and everyone here believes it is past an emergency situation.”
Light suggested that Phil Rhodes, a process server for the municipal court, who also provides freelance services, serve the property owners their notice. She also suggested that council place a legal notice in the newspaper as an attempt to contact the property owners.
“The biggest problem is the liability if a child gets in there and falls through that floor ... because that is the biggest liability, the health and safety concern,” said Dan Glaze, a contracted license building inspector for the village.
“I would take sheets of plywood and board up every opening and the basement, anywhere they can get into the house from the outside. I would go as far as putting caution tape up around the property, and putting a legal notice where it can be seen condemning the house as unsafe to occupy, and no trespass,” Glaze said.
Another court date has been set for April 27 at 5:30 p.m.