The Hiawatha City Commission held a Public Hearing on Monday evening at their regular October meeting relating to the structures that were deemed months ago to be either condemned or not meeting the minimum code for habitation.
While no property owners were present for the first Public Hearing, there were several representatives of ownership on hand. Speaking on behalf of the owner of 813 Miami Street, two of those on hand informed the commission that work had begun on the property during the summer, but has been delayed due to permit issues. The pair disagreed with the assessment that the structure is unsafe, but agreed that electric and water needed to be turned on before it would be livable. They also stated that they never received the Certified Letter sent, and that the signature on the returned card was not that of anyone who lives in their home. The Commission suggested that they have a contractor present a quote that they could then present along with proof that work could be completed.
The proposed future owner of 400 South 8th Street spoke during the Public Hearing, though her property was included on the second list and not the first. The representative said she has paid taxes on the property for five years, and is in the process of transferring ownership, but that court has been delayed due to Covid-19. She stated that she intends to begin work, but is struggling to remove a tenant from the property.
A representative of DI & CI Investments LLC was also present, and stated that work would be completed, but that it took a long time to remove a tenant, and then at least five dumpsters of trash had to be removed. This representative also cited problems with permits and utilities and stated that there had been problems with the City Code Enforcer.
Another representative of an owner was on hand and stated that they never received the certified letter announcing the public hearing.
In regards to the properties that had been deemed dangerous and unfit, the commission voted to move forward with the proposed action, which includes bringing a Resolution forward at the next meeting, which will give 30 days for properties to be repaired. The included properties are 903 Shawnee Street, 813 Miami Street, 505 Miami Street, 300 South 10th Street, 315 Oregon Street, and 802 Delaware Street.
The commission also voted to move forward to bring a Resolution on properties not meeting minimum housing codes. Properties at 308 Miami Street, 310 Hiawatha Avenue, 400 South 4th Street, 815 Hiawatha Avenue, 911 Iowa Street, 1109 Utah Street and 401 South 5th Street were included, and once the Resolution is passed, all will have until December 7th to be vacated or repaired.