The Maysville Codes Enforcement Board, serving as the vacant properties review commission, met Tuesday to review requests from property owners to be removed from the vacant and abandoned properties list.
Requests were considered from owners of 16 properties and none were denied removal, although most came with a caveat of some sort.
Among the properties removed from the list was the Hayswood Hospital property along with the former site of Vance’s Drugstore and Gantley building in downtown Maysville.
In December, city commissioners enacted the ordinance that places a $5 per $100 of accessed value tax on abandoned property.
The tax penalizes owners whose property is placed on a list of properties determined to have been vacant for at least a year, on the delinquent property tax list for three years, dangerous, void of maintenance, contaminated by methamphetamine, or faces other issues as determined by ordinance.
The ordinance also defines what an abandoned property is, lays out the steps to having an abandoned property designation removed, and allows for an appeals process.
Properties landed on the list in a variety of ways, including those reported by neighbors and a lack of water utility service.
Tuesday was the beginning of the appeals phase for this year’s list, which initially contained about 120 abandoned properties, City Manager Matt Wallingford said. Of those, about 40 appealed the placement and will be heard in a series of special meetings through the end of March, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the owners of Hayswood Hospital, Square Husky Investments LLC, formerly Stitch Up Properties LLC, of Brooks, who purchased the property in June 2018, Kirsten Howse said the company is currently in the process of reviewing grants that could be available to open the site for tours.
Hayswood was built in the 1920s and renovated several times over the years, the last time in the 1970s. It has become a popular site for claims of haunting, widely distributed on the internet.
Howes said the property has been secured with all outside entrances and windows boarded and the grounds mowed and maintained. Gates and fences have been installed along the entire perimeter of the property and crews are on site to oversee the property on a monthly basis, she said.
The owners hope to be able to replace the roof and open it for what she called historical tours.
Any funds used to pay the abandoned property tax imposed on the owners would take away from those available to make improvements, Howse said.
Asked about the chances of making improvements without any grant fundings, Howse said that would be a matter of more time.
The board agreed to remove the property from the list provided the owners secure a free-of-charge property maintenance permit from Codes Enforcement Officer Nicole Brooks before June 1. The permit will remain in effect for six months provided the property owner submit monthly updates on progress being made on the building, she said.
Nuno Fernandes, who owns the former Gantley Building at 144 West Second Street asked that his property be removed from the list.
Brooks said Fernandes has already applied for building permits and the owner said he has done a lot of cleaning at the property, completed tuckpointing outside the building and is currently in the process of replacing gutters and roofing bolts.
While he originally planned to have a brewery inside the building, Fernandes said he is still a year or two away from having a final plan.
“The ultimate goal is still to put something fun downtown,” he said.
The board agreed to remove the property from the list.
John Sumara, owner of the property at 34 West Second Street, said health issues and the COVID -19 pandemic had hindered his plans for the former Vance’s Drugstore building.
He also said a contractor he hired walked out on the project and he is currently in the process of hiring another contractor to complete the work,
“Because of COVID, getting help and staff has been difficult,” Sumara said. “It’s kind of hard for this to be happening at this time.”
Plans for the building include apartments and a storefront.
The biggest issue with the building, Brooks said, is paint on the first floor fronting Second Street.
Wallingford told Sumara that the goal is to see properties renovated and returned to use.
“That’s the whole idea…let’s get this building up and running. That’s what we really want to see in the end.”
Sumara was granted his request for removal from the list and agreed to apply for the property maintenance permit.
Other properties removed from the list by the board included:
—523 Wood Street and 726 Bank Street, owned by Leonard Hendrickson who agreed to apply for the property maintenance permit.
— 136 EastThird Street, owned by Suzanne Stone, agreed to apply for property maintenance permit and address a fencing issue.
— 420 West Third Street, owner agreed to apply for a property maintenance permit.
— 556 West Second Street, owned by Todd Peace Estate, intends to sell property as soon as vehicles in a garage are removed.
— 16 East Third Street, owned by John Perry. Plans to renovate and resell property. Agreed to apply for a property maintenance permit.
— 934 East Second Street, owned by Rodney Saggs. Agreed to remove vines growing on the building and to apply for a property maintenance permit.
— 704 West Second Street, owner agreed to apply for permit to demolish.
— 2133 Old Main, improperly placed on list.
— 824 Forest Avenue, occupied, improperly placed on list.
— 102 East Fourth Street, occupied, improperly placed on list.
— 217 Commerce Street, owner agreed to replace broken window, fix dangling sign and apply for property maintenance permit.
The next special meeting to consider removal requests is set for March 24.