Councilman: Time to move on trashy buildings

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Property owner allegedly dumping illegally

By KEVIN KOELLING, Managing Editor

CANNELTON – “It’s time to get her to move on it,” City Councilman Bruce Myers said at a Jan. 10 regular meeting of the city’s leaders. He was referring to Carolyn Barr of Re-Barr Restorations, who is facing thousands of dollars in fines for violating a property-appearance ordinance.

Myers was the city’s building inspector in July, when its board of public works and safety reinstated a $1,000-per-month fine it had deferred the previous December for two buildings Barr owned. The News reported in a November 2009 story the board had given Barr until the end of October 2009 to complete renovations on the Heck Building at Sixth and Taylor streets. She stated then issues with her insurance company had kept her from meeting the deadline, and that her intent was “to save the building.”

“She has several buildings,” city attorney Chris Goffinet told the council last week. “Her attorney says she intends to get them taken care of.”
Myers and Councilwoman Kim Nugent said Barr is putting demolition debris on several properties.

“That’s illegal dumping,” Goffinet said.

He told her attorney that if she wants to stave off city action, she needs to appear before the council, he also said. The fines continue to mount, he explained. The city could attempt a lawsuit, and the council should decide whether “to throw good money after bad.”

“We shouldn’t have to beg her to come in,” Myers said.

This month’s conversation began with a property he said Barr bought at a tax sale and allowed to become a junkyard littered with scrap metal, tires, trailers loaded with refuse and an unregistered car.

Police Chief Eric Dickenson said he would tag the car for removal, and Phillip Ball was to look at zoning violations. He’s the city’s zoning administrator in addition to serving as utilities manager.

Mayor Smokey Graves said he’d been instructed that any communications with Barr should be through her attorney.

“The next step is litigation,” Goffinet told the council. “There’s no other step.”

Graves said he would attempt to talk to Barr within the next day or two and tell her to “give me a date when work will begin” and if that date passes without action, “it’s time to litigate.”

A call to Graves’ office Tuesday to determine if he’d talked to Barr was not returned as of press time.

Barr said Wednesday afternoon she had talked to Ball and “we came to an agreement of what needs to be done and by when.” She declined to elaborate, but said she intends to work with city officials and comply with ordinances.

“I’m going to do what I need to do,” she said.

In other business, the council renewed an agreement with Perry County Animal Shelter Inc. with no change from the city’s share of its operating costs, $2,232.