A list of 18 properties in Hiawatha was presented to the Hiawatha City Commission for violations of the city’s Minimum Housing Codes at Monday night’s meeting.

A hearing for the properties was held at the meeting, with the commission needing to decide whether to move forward with a notice to remove, repair or demolish by Oct. 11.

The properties in question are 211 North 5th Street, 913 Miami Street, 308 South 10th Street, 507 Miami Street, 704 Iowa Street, 806 Kickapoo Street, 401 Kickapoo Street, 400 Pottawatomie Street, 314 Delaware Street, 209 Oregon Street, 111 Navajo Street, 1216 Oregon Street, 606 Kansas Avenue, 708 Kickapoo Street, 804 Kansas Avenue, 412 Miami Street, 113 S 6th Street and 602 Miami Street.

During the hearing, two properties were represented by ownership. Charles Clary, owner of the property at 507 Miami, addressed the commission. Clary stated that he is willing to make exterior repairs to bring the property into compliance, but has a lease to own contract with a tenant, who he had hoped would remedy the situation. City Code Enforcer Dave Wilson said he had a meeting set with the tenant, but that they did not answer when he came by for the appointment. Commissioner Dave Middendorf told Clary that the commission needs to see progress. There were further discussions of permits and how Clary could complete the necessary work.

Rodney Meyer was present to discuss his property at 111 Navajo. The house on the property had burned down several years ago, and no repairs have been made. Meyer said his retirement was delayed by Covid, and now that he has time to work on the property, the cost of building materials is prohibitive and that he is unwilling to engage the negative equity required to start repairs until the cost of materials goes down. Meyer said that he keeps the property mowed and trimmed, but Wilson said the danger and blight of the property in its current condition is a liability risk. Commissioner Brian Shefferd said the property would be worth around $200,000 if a house was put on the basement that is already present.

Shefferd also asked for additional information on the property at 113 S 6th Street. Shefferd stated that he did not see any structural damages in the pictures provided, and would like to see those pictures before he is comfortable condemning the house. He also shared his opinion that all the properties listed did not need to be demolished.

City Administrator Mike Nichols said in the current stage of legal proceedings, the term “remove, repair or demolish” are simply options given to property owners for abatement of the properties prior to a further decision being made by the Commission on Oct. 11.

A motion to determine the properties in violation of the Minimum Housing Code was made and seconded, and the vote passed 3-1, with Shefferd as the lone nay vote.

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