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By KEVIN KOELLING
CANNELTON – A historic Cannelton building that was thrice ordered to be demolished got a reprieve through a settlement conference, city attorney John Werner said during a common-council meeting last Monday.
He and Mayor Mary Snyder attended the conference in Evansville to address “what I think everybody up here (at the council table) would recognize as the Carolyn Barr situation over the Heck building,” he said.
As the News reported Sept. 12, the Cannelton Board of Public Works and Safety voted unanimously three days earlier to proceed with orders contained in a notice of violation issued for the former Heck Hardware building, repeating for a third time orders to demolish the building. The latest demand followed a hearing in which Barr, the owner of ReBarr Restoration, said hazards to passers-by had been eliminated.
Barr filed a lawsuit in Perry Circuit Court appealing the board’s decision, Werner explained at the Oct. 14 meeting.
An agreement emerged from the settlement conference that was subject to the city council’s approval, he said.
Under the agreement, Barr will complete construction on the exterior of the building by Nov. 1, 2014, the lawyer said.
That work will be completed in several stages with deadlines of Feb. 1, April 1, Aug. 31 and Nov. 1, 2014.
“She can gain a maximum of 14 days’ extension for the work on each of those three (sic) stages, subject to the approval of the building inspector,” he continued, adding she can appeal to the board of public works and safety if she disagrees a decision he makes. “If she fails to meet any of these deadlines, we have the right to reinstate the litigation which is now pending before the court in order to judicially conclude the matter.”
Councilman Jack Harris offered a motion to accept the agreement. Councilman Melvin McBrayer seconded and the council voted unanimously without discussion to approve the motion.
Councilwoman Lynn Fulkerson asked Building Inspector Phillip Ball to provide updates at council meetings, and he agreed.
Barr said when the News called her Friday morning she hadn’t been notified of the city’s decision.
“I think it’s a positive thing,” Barr said Friday when asked about the development. “It’s what should have happened to begin with. I intend to do what needs to be done with the building.”
In other business, Werner said Ball had recommended amending the city’s building code to make reference to state building codes. They include fire and building safety standards, and residential, electric, plumbing, mechanical, energy-conservation, swimming-pool, migrant-day-care-nursery fire code and the Indiana fuel-gas code, he said, and would be adopted by reference into the city’s code.
“Rather than try to adopt our own plumbing code,” the lawyer said as an example, estimating the state’s version of that code to be an inch-and-a-half thick, “we simply say we use the state’s, and so on and so forth. Otherwise, we would have to sit down and … figure out what we’re going to put in our plumbing code.”
Harris suggested taking time to look into the codes, but Fulkerson offered a motion to accept the recommendation and he and the others voted in favor of it.