Helena-West Helena Code Enforcement Officer Patrick Allen presented the city council with an ordinance for a demolition permit approval for the old Helena High School.

 

Helena-West Helena Code Enforcement Officer Patrick Allen presented the city council with an ordinance for a demolition permit approval for the old Helena High School.
He queried as to whether or not the city was required to have an ordinance format that needed to follow.  Allen explained that some permits are attached with fees and some are not. 
“The ordinance is being presented with a demolition of building permit application and a demolition of building permit schedule of fees, all of which have to be approved by the council,” explained Allen.   
According to Allen, the demolition fee schedule is based on the schedule of a building permit. 
“There is a base fee of $50 to the individual purchasing the demolition permit, regardless of cost of demolition and an additional demolition cost of $2 per residential and $3 per commercial for each $1,000 spent for demolition,” stated Allen. 
The base pay was set to establish accountability for individuals to start and finish the project. 
Councilman Joe St. Columbia asked if the city has the provisions to help someone in demolish their property. Allen responded saying the city currently has no resources or provisions in place. 
Mayor Arnell Willis pointed out that the individual that buys the permit has 128 days to complete the demolition project – otherwise the city is going to come in, tear it down and charge the property owner.
“As long as they are working on it, this permit will enforce the completion of the demolition,” commented Allen. 
The council agreed to adopt the ordinance.
Allen provided an update on the planned demolition of the old Helena High School. 
“We have been granted a special permit use, and all we need is the approval for the proper zoning of the property,” reported Allen. 
Demolition is expected to begin next month. However, the council questioned a required ordinance once the planning commission has approved the demolition without a public hearing.
“According to the sequence of events, the council must have an ordinance to approve the permit of use, which subsequently was approved by the planning commission without a public hearing,” commented councilman Don Etherly.   Councilman Jay Hollowell asked if the planning commission was aware of the lack of a public hearing would they still be in an agreement with the ordinance that should be proposed before the demolition can begin. 
“We would like their approval in writing to prove their agreement,” stated Hollowell. 
Allen and the council agreed that the ordinance would be presented at the next council meeting on Jan. 3.