Hillsboro Mayor Brian Sullivan discussed the legal action which the city council approved concerning the Corner Block (Sherman's) Building at the Hillsboro Planning Commission meeting held Thursday afternoon, Nov. 21.
The discussion was triggered by a vote (after a closed session of the council at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12) to take Gerald Joziak, the owner of the property at 324 South Main Street, to court.
The mayor said neither he nor the council want the building to be demolished, but they feel the condition of the structure has become a public safety concern. According to city ordinances, the owner of any property within the city limits has to maintain it or face possible legal action. Despite conversation with the current owner, who once had plans to develop the building into either a restaurant or an antique mall, Joziak hasn't sold the building or fixed the roof and other exterior problems. Metal falling onto the Wood Street sidewalk caused the city to block use of the sidewalk recently.
Planning Commission Chair Tom Gooding expressed concern about the end of the predicament, expressing concern that the building would become the city's financial liability. Mayor Sullivan stressed the city had to act because the owner had not; if the city prevails with its court action, Joziak will have 15 days to repair or demolish. If he does neither, then the city can place liens on the property to cover costs of any action taken. The council has experienced frustration because nothing substantial has been done despite an obvious need; the resort to court proceedings hopefully will spur a resolution. The mayor said at least two parties had expressed interest in buying the building as it is, but the owner hadn't responded to the chance to sell, so opportunities have been lost.
The mayor had some good news for the commissioners in attendance (Gooding, Barb Hewitt, David Powell, Michelle Ondrey, Don Karban, Dave Booher, Mark Osborn, and Mike Ryan). New businesses may be coming to town, and both gaming parlors on Main Street have agreed to redo their facades to be more in keeping with the historical look towards which the town is moving.
Too, the Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) documents covering Montgomery and neighboring counties is moving forward; many federal grants are not available if a CEDS document is not in place.
Hewitt reminded those in attendance of Imagine Hillsboro's upcoming Storybook Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 7; Jim May spoke of the group's Parks and Recreation Committee's presentation of plans for Central Park and of a fundraiser for that project to be held at the Opera House on December 18.
Karban reported that five contracts were in place for Hillsboro's first HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Block Grant; work will begin as the contractors clear their current work schedules. Plans are in the preliminary stages for the next grant application.
The Natural Resources Committee is working with the subscribers for the new slips at the South Marina about where equipment can be located; the committee will review fees within their jurisdiction at their next meeting. That review takes place annually.
The commission learned that April, 2020, is now the projected date for completion of the Eagle Zinc Superfund Cleanup project. Interim City Planner Jonathan Weyer asked the commissioners to proof the city website, specifically looking at the committees to see if there should be additions or deletions of members' name. He also said the website now includes a community calender and encouraged those with activities planned within Hillsboro to call city hall so their plans can be included.
The commission will not meet in December, so they gather next on January 16, 2020, at 12:30 in city hall.