City gives Huntington man time to fix home

By Joseph Slacian

Huntington resident John G. Davis entered the March 2 Wabash Board of Public Works and Safety meeting facing the possibility of being ordered to demolish a home at 1344 Middle St.

Rather, Davis convinced the board that he is willing to do whatever it takes to fix the home and make it livable once again. Davis received 30 days from the board to begin repairing the structure’s roof and to present a timeline in which he plans to complete renovations.

Davis was summoned to appear before the board by Building Commissioner John Stephens. During an unsafe building hearing, Stephens outlined for the three-member board the various problems with the structure.

Stephens, under questioning by City Attorney Randi Zimmerman-Irgang, said he has inspected the site several times over a two-year period.

“The roof has several leaks in it,” he said, describing the condition of the home. “The soffit is missing, or a good portion of it. The roof in the rear is in pretty bad shape.”

He said the home is vacant and unsecure and has become dilapidated because of lack of care. It is hurting property values of surrounding homes, he continued, but said the home isn’t structurally bad. However, he did say it was a threat to public health.

Davis was adamant that he would do whatever he had to do to repair the building and bring it up to local standards.

“I don’t want to tear this house down,” he said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to fix the house up.”

He noted that when purchased the home the site was overrun with brush. He removed the brush and has since had someone cut the lawn every week. He also said he had the home and garage rewired.

“I came back one week later and all that wiring was cut out,” Davis continued. “I notified the police and made a report. I got a little discouraged and had it closed up.

“At that point in time I put a new door on back after the wiring was cut out. I came back and the door was kicked in.”

Davis also said he thought he had the home sold on two occasions. However, both times the sale fell through.

“At this point, I’m willing to do whatever it takes,” Davis said. “I’ll have a written agreement with the building inspector with what he wants done, and I’ll make sure it gets done.”

He said he and a few workers would do the work at the site, adding, “I’ll have a roof on there in a very short amount of time.”

Board member Dee Byerly asked if Davis was willing to put whatever money it takes to repair the property. He said he was.

“I don’t want to knock your plans at all, I’m all for you,” Byerly told Davis. “As I sit here and look at these (photos of the home), I think, my gosh.”

Davis said the damage looks worst than it truly is “and if you give me a reasonable amount of time, and you can have your building inspector check on it, I guarantee it will be done.”

The board asked if Davis planned to sell or rent the home once finished. He said he would like to sell the home, but already had at least one person interested in renting the home.

Mayor Scott Long said he’d like to see the roof repaired, and then a timeline developed between Davis and Stephens.

“I’d rather work with you and keep it on the tax rolls rather than tear it down,” the mayor said.

Davis received 30 days to begin work on the roof and he is to appear at the first board meeting in April with a time schedule for the rest of the repairs.

“Weather permitting (roof repairs) will be before the 30 days,” Davis said.

Posted on 2016 Mar 08