City coun­cil con­demns col­laps­ing cot­tage

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - KEITH BRYANT

BELLA VISTA — The City Coun­cil con­demned the struc­ture at 9276 Suits- Us Drive re­cently.

“There’s a por­tion of that struc­ture, I’m sur­prised it’s able to hold up any weight with as dam­aged as it is,” said Chris Sune­son, Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Ser­vices di­rec­tor. “It’s go­ing to fall down, that’s all I can tell you. Grav­ity is do­ing its work.”

City staff wrote in a re­port it sought con­dem­na­tion of the struc­ture in 2015, but the City Coun­cil tabled it and asked the Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Ser­vices Depart­ment work with prop­erty owner Robert Jack­son, who ex­pressed an in­ter­est in sal­vaging and restor­ing as much of the fire-dam­aged struc­ture as pos­si­ble.

In Septem­ber 2015, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Jack­son was is­sued a de­mo­li­tion per­mit, which was closed May 2016 af­ter reach­ing its time limit. Jack­son was is­sued a mis­cel­la­neous struc­tural fram­ing per­mit July 2016, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, and in­spec­tors checked progress Au­gust 2016 and found im­proper foot­ings and min­i­mal con­struc­tion de­bris re­moved. A later in­spec­tion found the per­mit­ted work was fin­ished, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

In­spec­tors vis­ited in De­cem­ber to check on the project’s progress, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. No progress was noted. An­other check was made in late May, and no progress was ob­served, prompt­ing the depart­ment to seek con­dem­na­tion.

The dam­age caused by a struc­ture fire more than two decades ago may be ir­repara­ble, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, and the struc­ture presents a haz­ard to pub­lic safety.

De­bris from the de­mol­ished sec­tion is strewn about the prop­erty, he said, and it looks like some­one is sim­ply pil­ing up build­ing ma­te­rial at the site.

“There’s been some progress,” Sune­son said, “but it’s been very lim­ited, and when it’s all said and done, it’s been too long.”

Jack­son said he got the prop­erty for back taxes in 2014. The house, he said, had essen­tially been used as a dump.

“I’ve taken well over 40 truck and trailer loads of trash,” he said. “I’ve hauled away re­frig­er­a­tors, rain boots, all kinds of trash.”

Jack­son said he was mak­ing progress on the per­mit­ted work and, when he re­ceived no­tice the prop­erty was go­ing to be con­sid­ered for con­dem­na­tion again, it came as a sur­prise.

He had dif­fi­culty get­ting the foot­ing in place, he said, in part be­cause of heavy spring rain.

He said he’s frus­trated be­cause his ef­forts and ex­penses have yielded no re­sults.

Jack­son has started dis­cus­sions with the Fire Depart­ment to use the house for train­ing ex­er­cises and a con­trolled burn, he said, though he’s un­cer­tain if this will be done.

Fire Chief Steve Sims con­firmed this process has started.

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