By Per Peterson
The Tracy City Council on Monday passed a resolution ordering the razing of four houses considered “hazardous buildings or property,” as a result of the July 3 flood.
The homes, and the reason for the order to raze, are:
• 113 East Morgan Street (the east foundation wall has collapsed and the structure has inadequate support beams)
• 124 Elm Street (the east foundation wall has collapsed, the water heater and furnace are not functional, the property is disconnected from all utilities and the property is vacant)
• 249 Union Street (the east and west foundation walls have collapsed, support beams have no support, the main electrical power panel is under water, the water heater and furnace are not functional, the property is disconnected from all utilities and the property is vacant)
• 349 6th Street (the east foundation wall has collapsed, support beams have no support, there is standing water in the basement, the main electrical power panel is under water, the water heater and furnace are not functional, the property is disconnected from all utilities and the property is vacant)
The owners or occupants of each building had 30 days after the order has been served to make the necessary repairs to the buildings. If the repairs are not made within that time period, the buildings are ordered to be razed, the foundations filled and the property left free of debris in compliance with all applicable codes and regulations, pursuant to proper permits from the city. This must be completed within 30 days after the initial time period provided has expired.
“Everyone of these has been contacted, everyone of these has been inspected by myself and (Public Works Director) Shane (Daniels),” Tracy Fire Chief Dale Johnson III said. “We drafted our statements, they were submitted to the City Attorney; he sent us a form he drafted to be given to each one and they were served to them. The ones that (Police) Chief (Jason) Lichty could physically serve, he served, the ones he could not because they were out of town were sent registered mail.”
Johnson said each resident was given 30 days initially to inform Lichty or Johnson of their plans for resolving the issues with their homes. He said no feedback has been received from the owners/occupants from the aforementioned structures. Two other residents of damaged homes did communicate their plans to raze their buildings before winter.
The owners or occupants have essentially been given another 30-day window. After 20 days, Johnson said, arrangements are made to tear the buildings down.
“At this point in time, we don’t want to be in the business of tearing down houses and assessing it to their taxes,” he said. “They’ve had 30-plus days prior to this, they have another 30 days — it just would be nice if they responded. The EDA has a program for razing houses in town. There are funding options out there to help these people.”
Residents of the homes must remove all personal property and/or fixtures that will reasonably interfere with razing. If this does not happen, the city can sell personal property, fixtures and or salvage materials at a public auction after three days posted notice.
“It’s a deal where, we need to make them safe, and these homes are not safe,” said Tracy City Administrator Kris Ambuehl. “The property owner needs to make it safe; if they don’t make it safe, the city needs to make it safe.”
A fifth building — 157 3rd Street (the former Enderson’s building) — was approved to be razed at a previous meeting.
The issue about who owns the building was vetted after Tracy City Administrator Kris Ambuehl told the county that City Attorney Matt Gross received a letter from First National Acceptance Company stating that the property was classified as Quit Claim Deed to a person who cannot be located.
“The procedure for that is to serve that person the paperwork to the address provided, and the City Attorney has done that,” Ambuehl said. “He did serve First National Acceptance Company the notice that they’re still on the books, so to speak. It is filed with the Lyon County recorder’s office that First National Acceptance Company still owns it; it’s up to them to get it out of their name.”
In that letter to Gross, FNAC advised Gross that it told the City of Tracy it has “no ownership or possessory interest in the property since 2016.”