Redevelopment Authority plans to tear down Sheffield property

The front entrance to 114-116 Main St., Sheffield, is seen without a door and with snow inside the house. The property was put into conservatorship through the Warren County Redevelopment Authority following a hearing Monday before Judge Gregory Hammond.

The Warren County Redevelopment Authority has taken over a property and plans to tear it down.

Officials representing the authority held a hearing before Judge Gregory Hammond on Monday to discuss the 114-116 Main St., Sheffield, property owned by Ken-Win LLC.

No one representing Ken Win attended the hearing.

Attorney Andrea Stapleford called two expert witnesses to testify regarding the condition of the property.

She called Warren County Planning and Zoning Director Dan Glotz, who Hammond qualified as an expert in planning and zoning issues.

Glotz said the owners of the property made no apparent effort to remedy to conditions that led to the declaration of blight and the property’s condition has gotten worse.

“It’s in a residential area,” he said. “Most of the homes in the are seem to be kept up quite well.”

He said he believes the 114-116 property is having a negative impact on property values in the community.

Both Glotz and Donna Zariczny of Inscale Architects, who was called and qualified as an expert in building codes, said the property meets the criteria of blight — it is unoccupied, it is an attractive nuisance to both children and vermin, and there are no utilities connected.

Both told Hammond they believe the property is not suitable for human habitation.

Glotz and Zariczny both said they went to the property Monday morning and found it to be worse than at previous visits. Zariczny said the front door was gone and snow was visible inside.

There is a roofed porch at the front door, so they said it was unlikely that the snow had fallen there from the sky. However, the front of the building is very close to Route 6 and officials speculated that snow was thrown inside during plowing.

In addition to allowing moisture inside, the lack of a front door and windows missing in more than one location means that people, birds, rodents, and insects would have no trouble getting inside, Zariczny said.

Glotz said a one-story addition to the structure was pulling away and, from the right angle, daylight could be seen all the way through.

Glotz said the property was initially identified as blighted by action of the Sheffield Township supervisors. The supervisors then forwarded that information to the county Blighted Property Review Committee. The BPRC made a first declaration of blight. The planning commission made the second declaration and the property was moved to the RDA.

The authority invited the owners to the July and August 2016 meetings, Glotz said. No one responded and no representative attended. The authority then moved into conservatorship action which was finalized Monday.

Glotz said repeated attempts had been made to reach the owner. Four certified letters sent by the county from May to July of 2016 were all returned unclaimed, he said, but regular mail was not returned.

Hammond ruled in favor of conservatorship, saying the RDA had “clearly” met its burden.

Stapleford said the authority has plans to secure the building then move forward with making a determination as to whether to demolish it or rehabilitate it.

Unless the officials are surprised at the condition of the interior, they expect to move forward with demolition.

Zariczny said she would expect the creation of bid documents to take 30 days, following which the demolition could go to bid. Officials did not speculate as to when the property could be down.

The authority does not take formal ownership of the property. Following demolition or rehabilitation, the authority may place liens against the property for unpaid taxes and the costs incurred by the authority, then offer it for sale.