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Miller Motors building's fate to be decided Tuesday
[June 16, 2012]

Miller Motors building's fate to be decided Tuesday

PARKER, Jun 16, 2012 (The News Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The Miller Motors building on U.S. Business 98 has long stood in the entryway to the city, but not for much longer.

The Parker City Council is expected to cast a final vote Tuesday to allow city employees to tear down the structure that council members have said is dilapidated beyond repair and in violation of city code.

Earlier this year the council approved an ordinance with the Miller Motors building in mind that requires property owners to repair or tear down structures deemed dangerous, a menace to public health or a fire hazard. It gave the city's code inspector authority to order the "vacation, demolition or removal" of unsafe or unfit structures, or to order repair or replacement of the structure.

The City Council then would determine whether the structure is dangerous to the occupants, a health or fire hazard, or "so unsafe as to endanger life or property or to render the use of public streets dangerous." Tuesday's action will be the last in a months-long process of having the building torn down. City Clerk Adonna Mullen said she's not sure what the time frame will be for when demolition will begin. The city has to go through the permitting process and rent equipment.

While it's possible the property owner could step in and address underlying code issues with the property, it doesn't seem likely.

At a March meeting, building owner Charles Miller asked the council for time to repair the building, but his request was denied.

While Parker is moving forward on the code enforcement case, the city is doing so without a code enforcement officer. Joyce Fox, who served as the city's bookkeeper and part-time code enforcement officer, retired last month.

Mullen said she has taken on the code enforcement duties, which are not enough to justify a full-time position.

The council meets for a workshop at 4 p.m. and a regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Lynn Haven cites 6 structures The city of Parker isn't the only local municipality going through this process.

This year, code enforcement in Lynn Haven has tagged six properties in need of being torn down. Most property owners responded by taking care of the problem on their own, but the city is proceeding with action against two.

In most cases "once you inform them and tell them, you do it or we'll do it for you, and they'll take care of it," Police Chief Dave Messer said.

The houses at 702 Colorado Ave. and 1412 Louisiana Ave. "have been abandoned for a long time," he said.

The structures are falling in on themselves and can become infested with rats and other pests, he said.

If the property owners don't address the problem, the city would hire a contractor to perform the work and then put a lien on the property to recover the cost when the property sells.

___ (c)2012 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.) Visit The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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