Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

May 7, 2013

Public hearing extended; building could stand for months

Knoxville — The owner of the property at 110 East Robinson, Susan Vincent, was unable to attend Monday night's Knoxville City Council meeting, and thus, did not participate in the public hearing she had requested. As a courtesy to Vincent, the hearing remains open and will resume in council chambers Thursday night, May 9, at 6:15 p.m. 

Vincent requested the hearing in regard to orders from the City to have the building demolished within 14 days of condemnation. The building was condemned after a March 25 fire, deemed to be arson, though the building had previously been condemned on Nov. 1, 2012, four months prior to the fire. 

Vincent, nor her attorney was represented at Monday's meeting. City Manager Harold Stewart told the council that she was unable to attend. He and City Attorney Bob Stuyvesant recommended the council leave the hearing open until such time as Vincent could attend.

Following the open portion of Monday's meeting, Stewart said Stuyvesant advised him to keep the meeting open as a "courtesy." They believe that if the council would have closed the hearing, without Vincent addressing them, it would have reflected poorly upon the City and a lawsuit would likely have been filed. The City and Vincent are already involved in litigation filed by the City. Though Vincent was not there, the public hearing was held, with people sharing their concerns.

"I'm angry because I'm displaced," Sundance Realty Broker/Owner Kathy Caviness told the council. "My agents are displaced." 

Caviness' building is next to 110 East Robinson, and was damaged during the fire. The building and basement were flooded with water used to fight the fire. The City has acknowledged that the Sundance building has been "compromised" and nothing can be done to repair that building until 110 Robinson is addressed. 

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