PAXTON — The city council directed its attorney Ross Sorensen to pursue legal action against two property owners whose houses present safety hazards under state law.
The city has already taken to court the owner of a vacant house in the 200 block of East Patton. He has closed up the house, but the front porch remains held up by 4-by-4 lumber with no other support. Sorensen will ask for a court order dictating the hazard be removed by the owner by taking down the porch roof or building a porch underneath it.
The council directed Sorensen to seek a court order against the owner of a home in the 400 block of West State requiring him to take down scaffolding on the side of his house and remove junk from his back yard. Police Chief Bob Bane said the scaffolding has been up for some 10 years after it replaced wooden siding in place for years before that.
But Alderman Alan Meyer told the council there were even more serious problems on some downtown buildings. He passed around photos of a second floor exterior staircase above a downtown restaurant. The building houses apartments above. The iron staircase is rusting out and rests on concrete blocks.
Meyer wants some sort of inspection program begun either through the city or the fire department to point out life safety code violations and ensure they are remedied.
The council took no action. Mayor Bill Ingold has said he's spoken several times to the Chicago-area owner about the problems. Engineer Larry Johnson said his firm would be qualified to perform inspections.