The White Pine County Commission voted unanimously that a nuisance exists at the property located at 14 Fourth St. in McGill during a special meeting earlier this week. The commission found the building, which is more commonly known as the Standard Market building, to be injurious to the health of passers by because of the building’s condition, indecent or offensive to the senses or an obstruction to the free use of property so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of the property. The commission also voted to approve a resolution for the next steps drafted by District Attorney Kelly Brown.
“What you need to do here is hear proof to establish or controvert the facts set forth in the complaint,” Brown said. “At the conclusion, the commission will be required to enter a resolution on the minutes determining whether or not there is a nuisance and the person or persons responsible to abate it. Once the owners are notified they will have five days to comply.”
The McGill Town Council in a letter dated Aug. 27 and received on Aug. 29 brought the complaint to the county commission. Multiple McGill Town Council members were in attendance and read the letter into the record, which included the following passage:
“The McGill Town Council feels that enough is enough. The council is respectfully requesting that the matter be placed on the next available board of county commission agenda…let’s not continue this process so several years from now there’s another hearing concerning this.”
County Building Inspector Chris Flannery presented photos taken last Sunday of the property, which showed brick and mortar becoming separated, deteriorating roof conditions and more. Flannery said to make improvements necessary to improve the building’s conditions enough would be costly, but that demolition would be the only other option. Among the comments in support of the complaint included that letters had been sent in 1991 about the building, that the building is both a hazard to people’s health and an eye sore and that after more than two decades, this is an issue McGill wants to see resolved.
“At the end of this what I would like to see some real deadlines set…because this is affecting everyone,” McGill Town Council Chairman Bob Winders said.
Jim Assuras, who said he was speaking on behalf of the owners of the property who could not attend because of health issues, spoke against the complaint brought forward. Assuras questioned whether anyone entered inside the property to see if there had been dead birds and rodents as well as complaints that the building swayed in the wind.
After hearing comments from the public, the county commission voted to claim the property as a nuisance and to draft a resolution, which was scheduled to be heard at the commission meeting on Wednesday.
“This has a history and is coming up to this point now where we’ve got to take the bull by the horn,” Chairman John Lampros said.
The property owners will be responsible for the costs of the abatement.
“My reading of the statute is if they don’t fix it, you have to and then you have to put a special assessment on (the property) so when their property taxes come due, they’re also going to owe whatever the cost is to abate the nuisance,” Brown said. “If they don’t pay that, you have the same procedure you do with property taxes.”
As the county commission looks to move forward in dealing with the Standard Market property in McGill, Lampros said this was the time for the county to do something about the building’s condition.
“I think we should take a stand and figure out what we’re going to do here,” Lampros said.