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Housing Authority reviews rehabilitation agreement

Housing Authority reviews rehabilitation agreement

September 20th, 2017 by Nicole Roberts in News

The Jefferson City Housing Authority is seeing progress on some of the properties on the Lafayette Street, Capitol Avenue and State Street corridor. The owner of this building at 100 Lafayette St. is looking to make improvements in the near future.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Housing Authority is reviewing a draft rehabilitation agreement from a property owner involved in the East Capitol Avenue Urban Renewal Plan.

Last month, the Housing Authority decided not to grant Tom Scheppers, who owns the property at 100 Lafayette St., a second extension to sign a rehabilitation agreement. At Tuesday's meeting, Scheppers gave the Housing Authority his own draft agreement, saying he had concerns with the Housing Authority's agreement.

"Mr. Scheppers wants to revise some of the terms of the agreement but has not requested a change in the scope of improvements the Housing Authority indicated needed to be done," Housing Authority Executive Director Cynthia Quetsch said.

The Housing Authority will review his request and decide the next step by its Oct. 17 meeting.

Scheppers said he does not need another time extension and plans to make improvements to the property. Property owners who have signed the rehabilitation agreement have to make improvements within six months, which Scheppers believes he will be able to do.

He said he is currently working on some improvements to the Lafayette property, such as purchasing new windows.

In May, Jefferson City resident Holly Stitt requested, on Scheppers' behalf, the Housing Authority extend the time to sign a rehabilitation agreement because Scheppers wants to submit a Planned Unit Development (PUD) plan for his Lafayette Street property and the three vacant State Street lots he owns. That extension ended in mid-August.

Scheppers has owned the Lafayette Street property for about a decade and said the tentative goal is to open a restaurant in the building. The State Street properties would be used for parking.

He said a few people are interested in the building, but he has not signed contracts with anyone.

Scheppers said he has been working on this project for several years. He and the Housing Authority want to help revitalize the area. Having a clearer agreement, he said, might help with communication and cooperation between him, the Housing Authority and the city.

"It's something we want to do to improve the area, and it's always kind of been in the condition it is in for the last several years, but we're looking forward to making improvements," Scheppers said.

Regardless of which agreement Scheppers signs, it would not prevent the city enforcing code.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said while the Housing Authority and city should make cooperative efforts with property owners, they also have to ensure improvements are being made to the properties.

"We want to work with property owners, but at the same time there is a deadline; there is a timing issue that we cannot let these properties deteriorate," Tergin said. "We need to see solid evidence that they're moving forward in order for this to work."

As the Housing Authority looks at his draft agreement, Scheppers said, he will continue to work on a preliminary PUD plan.

In December, the City Council approved the urban renewal zone, which is bordered by East State Street, Lafayette Street, East High Street — including some parcels on the south side of East High Street — and Adams Street.

The area was declared blighted last year because the properties' conditions were deteriorating and some of the properties were declared abandoned by city ordinances.