Nearly one year since the wall of a downtown Jefferson City building partially collapsed, Cole County Presiding Judge Pat Joyce issued two rulings Thursday — one stating the property owner of 200 E. High St. could proceed with demolition and the other affirming the city's ruling on the building at 202 E. High St.
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On June 7, 2018, the west wall at 200 E. High St. partially collapsed due to water infiltration and hidden decay of the mortar in the wall. The properties at 200 and 202 E. High St. share a common wall, and city staff ruled last fall that the wall was failing.
Andrew Neidert, who owns 200 E. High St., filed a declaratory judgment action against Carol and Ruben Wieberg, who own 202 E. High St., last October, and the Wiebergs filed a counter-petition in response. The property owners wanted the court to decide who was responsible for repairing and maintaining the shared wall between the two buildings.
When the city condemned 200 E. High St. and ordered Neidert to demolish it in January, Joyce's order states, that terminated an 1898 agreement between the two property owners at that time.
The 1898 agreement gave the owner of 202 E. High St. permission to construct a building and insert beams and timbers into the easterly wall of 200 E. High St. However, the agreement would be nullified if the easterly wall was "condemned or destroyed by accident or providential causes."
Joyce's order states the Wiebergs have "no right to continue using the east wall" of 200 E. High St.
The order notes Neidert "owes no duty" to the Wiebergs "regarding past or future maintenance of, or to preserve or maintain," the easterly wall of 200 E. High St.
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Neidert also "owes no duty" to the Wiebergs to "protect their structure at 202 East High (Street) from damage," the order notes.
There will be a stay on the judgment for 15 days so the Wiebergs can take measures to protect 202 E. High St. from damage during demolition of 200 E. High St.
Theodore Lynch and Michael Berry, representing Neidert, did not return the News Tribune's requests for comment Thursday.
David Bandre, representing the Wiebergs, also did not return the News Tribune's requests for comment Thursday.
After city staff ruled both buildings were dangerous structures and Neidert and the Wiebergs missed the city-imposed deadlines to repair or demolish their buildings, the city began its administrative hearing process.
In mid-March, the city gave Neidert and the Wiebergs 60 days to repair or demolish their properties or face city abatement. The Wiebergs filed a lawsuit against the city following that ruling, asking for a new hearing before Joyce.
In a separate ruling Thursday, Joyce affirmed the city's ruling.
City Counselor Ryan Moehlman told the News Tribune on Thursday he could not comment on the ruling since he had not yet read the order.