Blight delayed on select properties until next meeting

The City of Warren’s Blighted Property Review Committee held off on blight declaration against several properties in the city during a Thursday meeting.

The first property before the committee was 500 Market St.

Code Official Ken Hinton said that the “property has had no further construction or rehab.”

He went through the existing blight conditions for the committee and asked for a second declaration of blight from the committee.

“I believe this property is still a public nuisance,” he said, later noting that the city has “been dealing with this property for quite some time.”

Douglas Hall, the contractor who has been working on the building, said that the delay in construction was a “misunderstanding of the ramifications of stopping said construction” in the eyes of the committee. He said work at the property would be re-started next week.

“We could see some progress,” Committee member David Cantrell said. “I would be interested in seeing progress if we can hold” on the designation for a month. “(I) would hate to see it go into more disrepair if (there is a) chance to turn it around. (We) might as well see how far he can get.”

Chairman Ray Pring noted that there is “potential for some progress on getting the inside renovated and habitable… I don’t feel (it’s) appropriate to move forward with a second declaration of blight.”

The committee agreed to hold off on the second blight declaration until the next meeting.

204 E. Fifth Ave.

Codes, Permitting and Recreation Director Terry Williams said that this property is in the process of a change in ownership and ask that the committee delay a blight designation. She said the goal of the potential new owner is to demolish the property to expand a business.

104 W. Third Ave.

(former East Street School)

Hinton said that a relative of the owner has been in contact with a local contractor and intends to demolish the building.

He said the demolition “won’t be until winter” because of the contractor’s schedule as well as a cost-savings for undertaking the project during the winter months.

Hinton said the owner assured him that the building is “structurally sound at this point.”

Pring said the relative expressed “it may take a little time to move this forward. It makes sense to let it go to the next meeting.”

602 Conewango Ave.

Code Official Jessica Roudybush told the committee that the property has been vacant for at least two years and that a neighbor said it is “been many, many more years than that (though I) don’t have a way to verify that.”

She said the exterior is in “poor condition” and that the water and gas have been shut off for non-payment. She explained she issued citations against the property for the condition of the exterior and the condition of the sidewalks and as a “gesture of good faith” withdrew the citations after consulting with the owner.

However, she said there “hasn’t been visible progress” since that time. She added that there are “several (sidewalk) blocks that are heaved up and one or two that are broken.”

The owner, Craig Hartley, addressed the committee and said that health issues prohibited him from continuing to work on the property. He said that he “definitely need(s) to get the property finished sold this year.”