WALKER – The Walker City Council extended condemnation proceedings on two mobile homes for 30 days and delayed action on a third condemnation proceeding until it can find the rightful owner.
The decisions came at Monday’s council meeting as the city works to address blighted properties.
Janice Harper spoke to the council about the two mobile homes at 30230 Walker Road, listed in the agenda as belonging to the “Joseph Harper Heirs” of her late brother.
“The building official went out there and it is not feasible to fix it,” Mayor Jimmy Watson said. “It is cost-prohibitive to fix it and it cannot be brought up to code.”
The council was given a report from building official Nancy Kimble on the three properties that included photos showing damage and decay and evaluations of the deterioration.
Harper said the mobile home in the front yard has been cleaned out to begin work on it.
She said she has had problems with the mobile home in the backyard.
It has been knocked down, but the man who is carting it off has only been able to take one load because of the weather, she said.
City Attorney Bobby King told the council it had two options, to vote on the condemnation or give Harper additional time, “if it seems she’s making an effort.”
“I was a building official for 12 years,” Watson said. “I don’t want to take anybody’s house down. But there is the safety issue.”
Watson asked Kimble to inspect the mobile homes. Kimble said she was scheduled to go back to the property on Tuesday.
“As long as somebody is trying to do due diligence, we want to work with you. We want to work with anyone,” Watson told Harper.
The council approved motions to give Harper 30 days for each mobile home. Both will come back before the City Council for a public hearing at its October meeting.
No action came in the third public hearing when no one showed up to discuss a mobile home at 13466 E. Railroad Ave.
“One issue we have here is we’re still trying to find the owner,” Watson said.
King said everything in the legal documents that have been found indicate the property is owned by Reginald Parker of Zachary.
But Parker came to the August council meeting and said he did not own the site, but adjacent land.
“We can’t determine the owner,” King said, “and the law requires you to give notice to the owner.”
The city attorney is if the owner cannot be found, then the city could appoint an attorney ad hoc to represent the property, then the proceeding could go forward.
“We can’t get through the assessor or any legal documents to ascertain the legal owner,” King said.
He suggested the condemnation proceeding not be put back on the agenda until the rightful property owner can be found.