Clintonville building deemed unsafe
By Bert Lehman
The city of Clintonville has issued a raze order for a multi-tenant building on 11th Street.
The building encompasses Unit 9A which is owned by Joseph Larson of Marion and is vacant, and Units B and C which are owned by Jim Krause of Clintonville and were occupied by a laundromat and hair dresser.
According to a letter from Dan Coffey, building inspector for the city of Clintonville, to Toby Kersten, Public Works manager for the city of Clintonville, “The roof structure has failed and fallen in at the back portion of 9A. There is no usable electrical wiring, plumbing or heating in this portion of the building. The walls are rotten and falling down. The floors cannot be seen to check the condition due to the building material and debris from the collapsed roof. An area behind units B and C has a large hole in the roof. The roof is common to the other areas B and C. The support system in all units for the gas and electric is gone, so the power has been shut off for the entire building.”
Coffey also stated in the letter that according to the 2014 property tax bill and information from the city assessor’s office, the value of the building is $144,300. He also stated the estimated cost to repair the building is $363,548, which exceeds the $67,923 “reasonableness of repair presumption” figure by $295,624.
Coffey concluded in the letter that per city municipal code and Wisconsin State Statutes, the damage to the building is so severe that repairs are unreasonable.
“The building is unsafe for human habitation, and needs to be razed,” Coffey concluded.
The city hired Nordin Design Group to conduct a structural inspection.
Scott Nordin, of Nordin Design Group, stated in a letter to Kersten that “failure of this roof system is imminent.”
Nordin stated in the letter that the wood purlins are rotted, with many of them failing and sagging.
He also concluded the cost to repair the building “would not be economically feasible or prudent.”
After a walk-through inspection, Jed Wohlt, Environmental Health manager for Waupaca County, also deemed the building “unfit for human use.” This opinion was shared with Kersten via a letter.
At the June 9 Clintonville City Council meeting, interim City Administrator Chuck Kell updated the council on the situation.
“The city attorney is completing the legal raze order that has to be recorded with the Register of Deeds and served upon the owners,” Kell said.
That was to be completed prior to June 12.
Kell also said the Clintonville Fire Department took the stance that if a fire developed in the building, it would try to put it out, but firefighters would not enter the building because of the danger.
“The roof is very susceptible to collapse,” Kell said.
He added, “There was also concern that if a fire did start in this building, it could easily spread to other buildings downtown and it could be a real issue for the fire department to fight.”
Many city staff members were involved in the decision to issue the raze order, Kell said.
“Even though it was a tough decision it was one that had to be made for the safety of the owners and the tenants that were leasing the building and the public that was using the building,” Kell said.
It is the owners’ responsibility to remove the structure, Kell said.