City determines compensation for dilapidated properties

By Dean Wright -

75 Cedar St.

75 Cedar St.

754 Fourth Ave.

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission passed emergency resolutions Tuesday evening declaring the amount of just compensation for real property in eminent domain actions for the addresses of 75 Cedar St. and 754 Fourth Ave.

“This is the resolution prior to going to court for eminent domain (proceedings),” said Gallipolis City Solicitor Adam Salisbury. “We have to notify the property owner and lien holders what we think is just compensation for that real property and also share with them the appraisal that was done (on the properties).”

The amount to be offered for the pair of properties is zero. The appraisal for 75 Cedar St. came back at $2,750.

“There are liens and other encumbrances on the (property) title that far exceed the appraised value,” Salisbury said. “So, the amount of just compensation we think is zero. It’s the same for 754 Fourth Ave. The appraised value (of that property) was $12,500. There are liens on that property in excess of $100,000.”

The city has been moving and discussing eminent domain actions on the pair of properties since early July. The city has been attempting to take more stringent actions in prompting city residents to better maintain dilapidated properties. City Code Enforcement Officer Brett Bostic, City Solicitor Adam Salisbury and City Manager Gene Green have been meeting several times a month to discuss better tactics and enforcement techniques in attempts to formulate new city legislation dealing with the issue.

According to Salisbury, earlier in the year, with the beginning of the city’s “intent to appropriate” resolutions, the city published its intent in local media as per law. Over that time, the city has discussed and gone through the process of determining the questioned properties’ value through appraisal methods. The city will then determine if it needs to file a suit in common pleas court to act out an eminent domain process.

“This is a last-resort option. We don’t wish to incur a huge expense to the city and we’ll try to work with the owners of the properties,” Salisbury said in July. So far, no agreements seem to have been reached as the city continued to push through with its appraisals.

City officials also said earlier in the year that they may consider moving on other properties in similar situations.

“What makes a property a good candidate for eminent domain? We plan to evaluate each property on a case-by-case basis, if a property can be rehabilitated without going into too much of a financial mess, to try and determine what it’s worth after (rehabilitation) is done. We’ll look at different ownership situations. Sometimes we can get in contact with them and sometimes we can’t. Each property is different,” Salisbury said in July.

The commission also had its first reading for a newly proposed city ordinance in regard to civil penalty for property maintenance code violations. The added ordinance would be numbered 1352 and states,” In addition to all other penalties, fines, executions, and legal remedies described in these codified ordinances and in the International Property Maintenance Code (as amended from time to time and adopted by Section 1351), the owner of any real property upon which is found a violation of these codified ordinances and/or the International Property Maintenance Code shall be liable for a civil penalty payable to the City of Gallipolis in an amount equal to 90 percent of the estimated cost of the rehabilitation of said property code violation.”

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

75 Cedar St. Cedar St.

754 Fourth Ave. Fourth Ave.

By Dean Wright