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Run-down homes deemed unsafe,dangerous
Public hearings on structures held Monday night
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401 Plum.

The Great Bend City Council Monday night held hearings on unsafe structures at 401 Plum and 2111 Hubbard and ordered them both razed, if not by the owners then by the city. 

On March 18, the council passed resolutions setting these matters for hearing at Monday’s meeting to determine if they were unsafe and dangerous structures. City Attorney Robert Suelter and Code Enforcement Officer Stuart Baker addressed the matters. 

The two resolutions were approved by the council and published twice in the Great Bend Tribune. Additionally, notices were sent to interested parties via certified mail, said Suelter.

Following the mandatory 30-day waiting period, public hearings were held for both properties. At those hearings, any owners, agents of any owners, lienholders or occupants could appear and show cause why the structure should not be condemned, and ordered demolished or repaired.

Baker had inspected both and ruled them to be unsafe and dangerous, and in violation of the city’s housing and dangerous building codes. Kansas Statutes provide for a procedure for determination of the condition of structures and the procedure for abating them due to their condition.

As for 401 Plum, the owners of record are Donald Bettes and Deborah Bettes of Alton, Ill. This case dates back to August 2017.

They confirmed receiving a certified letter, but have not made any other contact.

The owners have paid just enough of the back taxes to keep it off the county’s annual tax sale, he said. 

Baker said there are windows broken out on the east, south, west and north sides of the mobile home, and there is a hole in the side of the south side. There is also missing siding, open doors, a leaky roof and holes in the floor.

The trailer has only gotten worse, Baker said.

The home is not secured and is an “attractive nuisance. The structure should be removed from the lot,” Baker said. It is vacant, and there are no utilities.

For the 2111 Hubbard house, the owner of record is Robert D. Allen of Great Bend. However, Allen died in September 2018 and a notice of this action must also be made to his estate.

Baker said the home was involved in a fire on Nov. 13, 2017. As a result, it received extensive damage to the interior and exterior.

Allen, who was injured in the blaze, had been saving money to have the home demolished and had plans to sell the property. But, he died of natural causes just days before that could happen.

His mother can not afford to pay for the house’s razing either.

The cost to demolish the mobile home will be around $2,000. A regular house will be more costly, especially if there is asbestos involved, Baker said.

After the city contracts for the work, bills will be sent to the owners. If no payments are made, the expense will be added to the taxes owed on the property.

Most likely, Baker said, they will both wind up on the tax sale.

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2111 Hubbard.