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Helper council acts on derelict property

Staff reporter

A discussion regarding derelict properties highlighted the Helper City Council meeting last Thursday. The officials grappled with the problem of what to do with dilapidated, abandoned houses that owners refuse to deal with at locations within Helper city.

"Late last year, the former council asked me to start proceedings concerning three properties in town that are run down," stated Gene Strate, city attorney. "Two of the properties were cleaned up and repairs accomplished by the owners so there is no action needed. However, we do have one property that is still a problem."

During the discussion, the officials determined the former owner had been contacted, but had passed away. The new owner has also been contacted about the property and has failed to remedy the situation.

"I have sent her a number of registered letters, but she has refused to pick them up from the post office," indicated State. "I want to know if the council wants me to begin condemnation proceedings."

If Helper succeeds in taking over the property, Strate said city crews may be needed to tear down the house.

It was also determined that Chief Mike Zamantakis issued a fire hazard citation following a city inspection at the site several years ago. The structure is still in bad shape, including the roof which is caving in in some places.

"I think these people just can't afford to fix the roof," indicated Strate. "This will be a very difficult situation to prosecute."

The council decided to proceed with the case unless the situation is resolved by different means, such as someone fixing up the property.

In an unrelated matter, the officials indicated that Helper has almost completed the process of setting up a new planning and zoning commission.

"It has been a difficult situation," said Mayor Joe Bonacci. "We just get the commission set up and someone quits. But I think we have it set now."

The discussion was fostered by people who are trying to get a zoning change in order to start up a business in the town. The developers were told that the commission would be operating within 30 days.

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