This article appeared in the December 9, 2010 Chariton Herald Patriot. Written by Sandra Knebel.
Dec. 1, 2010 was the deadline for the owner of the Charitone Hotel, Charles Thomas, to provide to the Chariton City Council a current report from a structural engineer approved in advance by city officials stating that structurally the hotel is stable and does not pose a risk of harm to the public.
The deadline was set at the council meeting on Sept. 20, 2010 after Thomas and his attorney, Steven Huff, attended a public hearing for the purpose of declaring the property a public nuisance according to city ordinance. The report was an opportunity to overturn the council's resolution made at the conclusion of the public hearing to declare the property a nuisance.
At the council meeting Monday evening, council members learned that not only was no report received, but it appeared that no serious strides were being made in that direction.
City attorney, Verle Norris, told the council they had a choice of a civil nuisance abatement action of moving forward with action to acquire the property under Iowa Code Section 657. He said if the council pursues the latter action, the city would have to take any and all responsibility for liabilities such as asbestos and environmental conditions. The upside would be that the city wold not hve to pay for the property.
After a very short discussion, Norris was asked to review the alternatives and provide a report on the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing action.