Village votes to clear blighted property after debate


By Rachel Lloyd - rlloyd@aimmedianetwork.com



UNION CITY, Ohio — After a number of delays and debates, Union City Council voted Tuesday evening to move forward on the demolition of a blighted property in the village.

The property located at 206 E. Main St. has remained unsold after two Sheriff’s Sales and can, therefore, be transferred to the village. The village delayed proceeding on taking possession of the property until council could decide on demolishing it.

The village considered offers on the demolition and settled on Logan Ray, who will demolish the house and haul away the debris for $4,040. The cost is being covered by the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).

One exemption per year is allowed for demolition of a property without an asbestos inspection, so council chose to move forward without the inspection to avoid possible increased demolition costs if asbestos were to be found.

Council member Meta Sue Livingston questioned if the village would continue to move forward on clearing out blighted properties in the village, citing the lack of movement in recent years on the subject. She initially argued against acquiring the property and demolishing it, stating that she wouldn’t support something that did not address the many other properties that needed to be cleared in the village. She questioned if the village could afford to take care of all the properties that needed to be done.

Mayor Scott Stahl said the intention is to continue to assess the properties on a case-by-case basis and start getting something done about the problem.

“If this is successful, we’ll go on to others. You start with one,” he said, adding that funding could come from the CIC or council as determined feasible as each property is addressed.

Livingston, who is nearing the end of her term and not running for reelection, decided ultimately to vote for the measure to acquire the property and have it demolished, stating that she was trusting the remaining council members to continue the progress in clearing blighted properties in the village.

Council members Brad Horsley and Michael Coning voted against the measure, without expounding on their reasons. After the vote, the mayor told the two to bring their own plan for addressing the property blight to the next council meeting, sparking another squabble.

“Don’t talk to me like I’m a child,” Horsley told the mayor.

Tensions continued to simmer just below the surface during discussion of some dumping that was found on village property. Village Utility Director Eric Hanna said he spoke to the owner of the business believed to be dumping the concrete and cinder blocks on the property and was told that the mayor gave permission for the dumping. The mayor said he did not recall doing so.

Police Chief David McHenry asked if he should pursue illegal dumping charges and said he has not become involved in the situation yet because there had been no complaints filed about it. He agreed to accompany the mayor to talk to the business owner to clarify the situation.

Under the Redbud was recognized as the business of the month.

Stahl read a proclamation recognizing September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The mayor reminded council there will be a public hearing at the Oct. 5 meeting regarding the vacating of an alley, discussed at an earlier meeting.

Stahl also reiterated that the Park Advisory Board is in need of two more members and the CIC needs at least two more members, calling on citizens to step up and volunteer to take on those roles.

The next meeting of council will be Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.

By Rachel Lloyd

rlloyd@aimmedianetwork.com

Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA.

Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA.