Two Great Bend homes, one deemed uninhabitable by health officials after they found people living in filthy conditions and one seriously damaged by fire, were ruled unsafe and dangerous after action by the City Council Tuesday night.
The council approved resolutions designating properties at 1007 10th and 403 Buckeye and as such. The hearings the fate for both were set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7.
Property Maintenance Enforcement Manager Austin LaViolette filed documents alleging the structures are unsafe and dangerous.
At the 10th Street site, on Wednesday, June 23, city staff was called in response to unsafe living conditions observed by the Kansas Department of Children and Families and Barton County Health Director Karen Winkelman, LaViolette said. City and county staff entered the home wearing full-body protective Tyvek suits, gloves, masks and shoe coverings to document the interior conditions.
Throughout the home, staff witnessed large amounts of loose garbage, food waste, human and animal waste, structural damage to support walls, electrical hazards, no running water, insect infestation, multiple cats, fall risks, low air quality and large amounts of rubbish, he said. There were no kitchen appliances and some walls, possibly load-bearing, had been removed.
That day, a placard was affixed to the home, and the individuals staying at the residence were informed that the property is unfit for living. Emergency Aid Services was contacted to help relocate them.
Utility services were called to shut off the power to the home.
However, “we were not aware of what was going on,” said Eldred Marsh of Hoisington, one of the five Marsh family members who owns the home. The condition caught he and his brothers off guard.
“It is structurally sound,” he said. He and his family members are going to work with the city to get into the house to clean it and try to make a plan to salvage it.
Although the hearing date was set, LaViolette and Fire Chief Luke McCormick said they were willing to work with Marsh to clear the trash and make the repairs. These, though, must be done by Sept. 7 with significant progress shown in the interim.
For the Buckeye house, the statement includes two photographs of the structure that suffered damage from a fire that occurred on Feb. 14, 2021.
1. Windows are broken. Loose glass is present.
2. South exterior wall has burned away allowed visibility to the interior.
3. Roof of the structure is collapsed and burned.
4. North exterior wall also has been burned through in multiple locations allowing visibility into
and through the other side of the home.
5. Smoke and fire damage exists on the west entrance into the home.
6. The structure is open allowing waste materials to scatter into the neighborhood.
There has been contact with the owners, but there has been no interest shown in dealing with the structure. The city has an ordinance that would give the city a portion of the insurance money collected after the fire, but that is far from certain.
To take action on both properties, a hearing had to be set, and notice published in the Great Bend Tribune and sent out to all owners and interest holders, City Attorney Bob Sulter said.
Other unsafe properties
The council also held public hearings on unsafe and dangerous structures at 1205 Odell and 1714 Adams.
On May 3, 2021, the council adopted resolutions scheduling a hearing at the request of Property Maintenance Enforcement Manager Austin LaViolette. He found the structures to be unsafe and dangerous, and they needed to be abated. Notices was duly purchased in the Great Bend Tribune and mailed to all owners and interest holders in the real estate.
Following the hearings Tuesday, the council directed that both be razed by the owner, and if not razed within 15 days of the publication of the resolution or not later than July 31, be razed by the city. The cost of the removals would be billed to the owners, and if they fail to pay, City Clerk Shawna Schafer will forward the charges to the Barton County Clerk for inclusion on the tax rolls.
As for 1205 Odell, LaViolette reported:
1. The roofs over the front and back porches of the residence have deteriorated to such a point they are collapsing, and the back porch roof has holes in it.
2. The shingles on the roof of the house are deteriorating and there is a board covering a small portion of the roof on the north side of the house.
3. Siding and guttering on all sides of the home have deteriorated and/or fallen off.
4. Doors and windows of the home remain open and unsecured.
5. Holes exist throughout the main roofing of the home.
6. There are birds and other wildlife living inside.
7. Taxes not fully paid since 2018.
As for 1714 Adams, he reported:
1. Termite damage to exterior walls on the east side of the structure is visible. Integrity and strength of structure support is not adequate.
2. The plumbing in the home is substandard with several leaks which have caused damage to the flooring. The plumbing will need to be repaired and checked by a licensed plumber.
3. There are open electrical boxes in the basement which will need to be repaired by a licensed electrician.
4. In the basement where the water heater and furnace are located, they are sitting in water and will need to be cleaned and checked by a licensed plumber and mechanical contractor.
5. There is mold on the walls of the basement which extends approximately 4 feet up from the floor.
6. There are numerous insect infestations throughout the house causing unsanitary conditions. The house should be treated by a licensed pest control exterminator.
7. There are birds and other wildlife living inside.
8. The house will need to be thoroughly cleaned before being occupied again.
9. There are several broken basement windows on the south side of the house which will need to be either repaired or boarded up securely.
10. The soffit and fascia are rotting and missing in places on the south and east sides of the house.
11. Taxes not paid in full since 2015.
Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance
Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Tuesday night:
• Held hearings on unsafe and dangerous structures at 1205 Odell and 1714 Adams.
On May 3, 2021, the council adopted resolutions scheduling a hearing on the request of Property Maintenance Enforcement Manager Austin LaViolette that the structures be found to be unsafe and dangerous and that they be abated. Notice was purchased in the Great Bend Tribune and mailed to all owners and interest holders in the real estate.
Following the hearings, the council directed that both be razed by the owner, and if not razed within 15 days of the publication of the resolution or not later than July 31, be razed by the city. The cost of the removals would be billed to the owners, and if they fail to pay, City Clerk Shawna Schafer will forward the charges to the Barton County Clerk for inclusion on the tax rolls.
• Approved resolutions designating properties at 403 Buckeye and 1007 10th as unsafe and dangerous.
The hearings for both were set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7.
• Approved the purchase of a new pickup truck for the Street Department.
Currently the department has a 1995 Ford F150 4x4 with 200,762 miles. They are looking to replace it with a 2022 Ford F-150 with a Knapheide utility bed and steel tread plate Tommy lift.
A Dodge and Ford bid were received Marmies with Chevy unable to provide a bid, also from Marmies. The Ford was the lowest bid at $26,035 and the utility bed and lift from Hays Truck Equipment is $10,700 for a total cost of $36,735.
In 2020, the department budgeted and transferred $38,000 to the capital equipment reserve fund, Public Works Director Jason Cauley said.
• Approved spending up to $1 million of the city’s $2,271,654.71 in direct payments from the American Rescue Plan Act for the downtown rehabilitation project involving funding for sprinklers in potential downtown loft spaces, including sprinkler systems.
This is the first of two equal ARPA installments and it should be received by July 31. The second half will come about a year later.
Great Bend Economic Development Inc. proposed using half of those funds to reimburse owners of multi-story buildings in the downtown district.
A public hearing was held on the matter at the June 21 council meeting.
• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis.
• Heard a report from Great Bend Economic Development Inc. President Sara Hayden.
• Approved the July 15 closure of the North half of Lakin Avenue from Main to Kansas from 7-9 p.m. with one way traffic to the east only on Thursday July 15, for the Summer Street Stroll, Infantry Band concert, outdoor movie and other activities in the Square Jack Kilby Square.
“The July 15th Events in the square have really exploded,” Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said, The night also includes fire truck displays and a meet-and-greet with firefighters.
• Approved a formal resolution authorizing the completion of an application to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding a loan from the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund for automated meter readers.
• Approved abatements for accumulation of trash and refuse at: 223 Holland, Bibiana Ramona Cabrales; 2706 19th, Lonnie Philbern; 2710 19th, Moses Properties LLC.; 3001 Gano, Teodulo and Ingrid Lorena Soto; 2534 Lakin, A TB Enterprises Inc.; 2020 Jefferson, Tracy Driscoll; 3108 23rd, Bradly Fischer; 1423 Broadway, Calvin Weese Jr.; 1317 Harding, Gary Leo Salaja; 1438 17th, Cynthia Ioucretia Farris; 500 Odell, Stueder Rentals LLC.; 301 locust, Antonia Fraire Alvarez; 316 Plum, Karen Garcia and Jaciel Rodriguez; and 2725 Gano, Shane Satterfield.