Council Tables Building Inspection Ordinance

| September 23, 2013
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Council and the public heard a presentation regarding the work of the Citizens for a Clean Sedalia Committee during the pre-council work session. Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Community Development Director John Simmons:

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If passed, the ordinance will implement an inspection process for buildings in the downtown area.”Are they dangerous? What are the dangerous components? Notify the owner of what things need to be fixed in that process, and then give them a certain amount of time,” said Simmons, “So it was really an ordinance to create a better perception by the public of the safety of downtown buildings. As well as cut down on the cost that the City incurs in dealing with demolishing buildings.”

The City has spent almost $750,000 in the past 15 years to tear down unsafe structures. This ordinance is aimed at catching those problems before they reach that point. It requires an official inspection every ten years, done by an independent historic engineer contractor. After the initial inspection, a City employee would conduct an annual inspection. This would all be done on Sedalia’s dollar, and homeowners would not have to pay. The goal is only to catch urgent public or life safety issues.

The ordinance would only cover the downtown district. Simmons explained this is because most of those buildings are built using historic methods and materials, which do not hold up as well as modern concrete and steel.

Many members of the audience were opposed to the measure. Many said they do not want an inspector in their personal living quarters if they reside above their business. Others said the abandoned buildings in the downtown were of greater concern. Ward Two Councilperson Becca LaStrada said she felt her district is being targeted.

“They’re just now familiarizing themselves with that ordinance language. And so are there some kinks to iron out? They seem to think so,” said Simmons, “And Council said let’s table it and bring back at a later date. So in the meantime we’ll probably get more input from the public, from the building owners, and see if there’s some changes that need to be made.”

Council decided to revisit the ordinance at their meeting on October 21st.

“This is a normal process. You know, did we want it to pass? Well, yes, you want everything to be easy. But they showed their concerns. And me, as a public servant, you have to take those concerns and address them. So I think it’s the best thing that we’re going to table it and take another look at it.”

A copy of the ordinance is available in the Monday meeting Council Packet.

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