By Natalie Covher
City Council members voted unanimously to take over the demolition of 207 East Sixth Street, owned by John L. Ellis, at the City Council meeting Monday, July 11. It was deemed a grave public emergency and the City can now complete the removal of the condemned building beginning 48 hours from the order.
Director of Planning and Zoning Juanita Fowler explained the request for the City to remove the building and all related structures is urgent. The owner’s efforts to take down the house on the property resulted in the damage of a neighbor’s fence and the foundation and floor of the house still stand with a large amount of debris. Fowler recommended that the demolition of the house be completed, all the debris be removed and that the shed in the back of the property also come down.
The owner was served with a notice last week and attended the meeting.
“I’ve been having problem with the property but I would have disposed of my own debris in my own time,” said Ellis. “I don’t think I have been treated fair. I would like to dispose of the property myself and I don’t know why they would have to take down the shed. I can afford to take off $60-$70 loads but no more than that. I am in disagreement with this ordinance.”
Ellis explained that it was his original intention to remodel the home but after a tree fell on it and it suffered flood damage he decided to take it down himself. He now fears that the end result of this will be the property being purchased by the City after being sold at auction. Ellis will receive a bill for administrative fees and contractor cost. He will have 10 days to pay the bill and then it will be added to his taxes at the end of the year. If he fails to pay them then the property can be seized and sold.
City Council Member Sylvia Morrow asked Ellis if getting help from the Natchitoches Detention Center would help him and he said no. She asked him if it would help if they gave him 60 days to clean up the debris to which he also replied no. City Council member Eddie Harrington asked Ellis if he could make some improvements to the shed in order to keep it. Ellis said yes but that it would take him 3-4 months.
NPJ visited a few of the neighbors near the property. “This has been going on since before Christmas,” said the neighbors. “It is a sore sight and if it were in another area the City wouldn’t have allowed it to go on for this long.”
Other agenda items included:
- Introduction of ordinance to rezone property at 5811 Hwy. 1 Bypass for the opening of The Wing Grub Restaurant, owned by Jonathan Thompson
- Ordinance to transfer movable property from the City to Natchez
- Resolution to execute an extension agreement to a claims administration service contract between the City and Hammerman and Gainer Inc.
- Resolution to advertise and accept bids for the purchase of a bucket truck for the City Utility Department
- Resolution to advertise and accept bids for the 2016 City Street Rehabilitation Project
- Resolution to advertise and accept bids for the Lafayette Street Rehabilitation Project
- Resolution to execute a change order to the water treatment system renovation
- Resolution to execute a certificate of substantial completion to the contract between the City and Cecil D. Gassiott LLC for the water treatment system renovations
- Resolution to execute a change order for the Chateau St. Denis Parking Lot