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Jefferson City gives crumbling downtown building owners deadline to repair or demolish

Jefferson City gives crumbling downtown building owners deadline to repair or demolish

March 15th, 2019 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

Jefferson City officials are giving property owners a few more weeks to decide a plan for the collapsing building on High Street.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Jefferson City is giving the owners of two dangerous downtown buildings 60 days to either repair or demolish the buildings or face city abatement.

Jefferson City Police Department Chief Roger Schroeder, serving as the nuisance hearing examiner, ruled Friday that the building at 202 E. High St. is a public nuisance and that the city had given property owners Carol and Ruben Wieberg enough notice to fix the building, according to city documents.

If the building "is not repaired or demolished within 60 days," the order states, the city "shall arrange for abatement."

In a separate January order, the hearing examiner ruled 200 E. High St. property owner Andrew Neidert had to demolish his property within 60 days of the city's hearing examiner issuing a decision for 202 E. High St.

If he does not demolish the building during that time frame, the order notes, the city shall abate the nuisance.

"Their time in which to comply with their orders starts running essentially today (Friday), and they have 60 days," City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said.

The west wall of 200 E. High St. partially collapsed in June due to water infiltration and hidden decay of the mortar in the wall. The buildings at 200 and 202 E. High St. share a common wall.

The city gave Neidert until Dec. 31, 2018, and the Wiebergs until Jan. 31, 2019, to repair or demolish their structures.

The city ruled both buildings as dangerous structures last year after finding the wall between the structures was failing. City staff ordered the tenants to vacate the properties. Love2Nourish and MO Juice were located inside 202 E. High St., while law firms Berry Wilson LLC and Turnbull & Stark LLC were in 200 E. High St.

Jefferson City Building Official Larry Burkhardt said it would be safer if both buildings were demolished at the same time.

If the city abates the buildings, Burkhardt said, tax liens will be placed on the properties.

"We try to get the property owners to (fix it) because we don't like expending city funds for that," he said. "So, for old buildings where we can't get the property owners to cooperate and pay, (abatement is) the only course the city can do."

Last fall, Neidert filed a declaratory judgment action against the Wiebergs regarding which property owner is responsible for demolishing or rebuilding and maintaining the shared wall. The Wiebergs filed a counter-petition.

The case is still being discussed in Cole County Court.

The city tried unsuccessfully to mediate between the property owners last fall, Burkhardt previously said.

"Ideally the owners will cooperate and do what's in the best interest of both of them," he said Friday. "If they don't, we have to worry about the rest of the people in town here."

If 202 E. High St. is demolished, Burkhardt said, Matt Green, owner of 204 E. High St., will have to repair the wall 202 E. High St. is currently attached to.

Attorneys David Bandre, representing the Wiebergs, and Marshall Wilson, representing Neidert, did not return requests for comment Friday.