La Cygne council discusses requiring demolition permits

Updated: Aug 26


Debris lies scattered around the demolition worksite at the mobile home park on North Broadway in La Cygne in this inspection photo by Allison Fox, codes enforcement officer for the City of La Cygne.


LA CYGNE – Building permits for new construction, additions, and significant remodeling are already required within the city limits of La Cygne. But after a demolition crew created several problems at a trailer park earlier this month, La Cygne City Council members considered looking at requiring permits and a list of approved contractors for demolition as well as construction.


“It didn’t start off how any of us anticipated it would,” Allison Fox told the council at its Aug. 17 meeting. “A little bit of a rocky road there, but we finally got it figured out.”


Fox, who is codes officer for the city, handed the council a report that documented missteps in demolishing some of the mobile homes in the park, located at 627 N. Broadway, which has been there for years.


The pictures included in the report showed fiberglass insulation strewn around the area, a twisted metal I-beam hanging out of a roll-off container and a partially blocked city street, and piles of debris that took too long to clean up.


Fox said that much of the debris had been cleaned up – including some insulation that blew into an adjacent city park that was picked up by Public Works Supervisor Dan Nasalroad.

In early May, Fox notified owner Ryan Hill that seven of the trailers at the Broadway trailer park were in violation of city codes. In June, she said, Hill told her he was seeking crews to begin work on trailers.


Doug Hensley, a property manager with an Iowa-based company that renovates what he calls “mobile home communities,” told the council in July that his company planned to remove homes that were beyond rehabilitation, fix up the ones that could be upgraded and replace demolished homes with newer mobile homes.

In late July, the demolition crew began work, but within days after starting, the city ordered the crew off the job site because of the damage done to utilities and debris that was blowing onto adjacent property.

Fox reported that the demolition crew had been ordered to stop work because they hit multiple utility service lines, were pushing on gas lines and left the worksite one evening with water gushing from a water service line crew members had struck.


On Aug. 10 Fox asked Hensley to install an orange snow fence around areas being worked on to stop the spread of debris.


On Aug. 16, Dean Inscore took over supervising work on the project, and Fox indicated that under Inscore’s supervision, workers began making progress on cleaning up the debris. Fox said she anticipates the work being completed by Friday.


One concern that surfaced at the meeting was when work on the trailer park would continue after Fox reported that Hill was running out of money to continue the project.

Councilman Thomas Capp asked when the remaining work will be done. “Will it be three months or three years?” he asked.


Councilman Keith Stokes said the city needs to get a timeline from the contractor on when the work will be done.


City Clerk Jodi Wade suggested the council could consider requiring demolition permits.


And Fox noted that Linn Valley has an approved list of contractors for building projects.


City Attorney Burton Harding warned the council that there could be a problem in saying who can or who cannot do business in the city. However, he added, the city could require a contractor to be bonded and provide proof of insurance in order to get a permit.


Jim Thompson, owner of Double Eagle Excavating, which has done recent demolition work for the city, noted that in addition to requiring building contractors to be licensed, Miami County requires a license for demolition as well. And permits there require repairs to sewer, water and gas connections once a structure is removed.


Several council members complimented Thompson on demolition of a house and garage he recently completed, noting that the grounds had been graded and raked to remove all debris.


In addition to her report on nuisance violations violations and overgrown weed notices, Fox said she had been working with two owners of vacant lots who were planning on building new homes. Those lots are located at 609 Walnut St. and 413 S. First St.

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