West Juneau residents are expressing concern that the first deadline in a new agreement for a repairs to a dilapidated home may have already been missed.
The house on 3101 Nowell Avenue has been deteriorating for years and has been deemed unfit for human occupancy. The owner, Ronald W. Hohman, has said that he’s been attempting repairs and clean-up of the yard and interior. But neighbors say the structure is still a safety hazard and an eyesore with junk and debris both inside and out.
City Attorney John Hartle briefed the Assembly about the agreement during a recent meeting.
“It will provide an enforceable contract between the City and Mr. Hohman to accomplish the things that need to be done,” Hartle said. “He’s hired a contactor. The contractor has power of attorney for him. It’s actually the contractor that signed this agreement. We think that it’s a step forward.”
The settlement agreement specifies that the litter, junk, and debris in the yard must be cleaned up by January 22nd, or two weeks from the signing of the agreement on January 8th.
All of the trash, rotting food, garbage, and other items with rodent feces, moisture, and mold must be cleared out of the interior of the house by February 8th.
The garage, which is believed to still contain sewage after a sewer line was erroneous severed by city crews, must be cleared out thirty days after Hohman returns to Juneau.
Portions of the house declared to be in imminent danger of collapse must be demolished within sixty days, and repairs must be made to interior framing. Fumigation and repairs must be made to the roof of the house and roof of the garage within two months.
Other junk, household appliances, personal items, and trash must be cleaned from all exits to allow for safe access to the house within 180 days. Outside decking and stairways must be repaired or removed by then as well.
The clock temporarily stops ticking as any applications for required building permits are reviewed by the CBJ.
All of the work will be done at Hohman’s expense with the exception of cleaning up the garage or replacing any carpet in the garage. That expense will be picked up by the City.
Under terms of the agreement, a lawsuit filed by the City has been stayed or set aside. Trial in the case was scheduled for this coming August. Satisfying the terms of the agreement could mean dismissal of the suit. But if Hohman or his contractor Leitoni Tupou, who is acting on his behalf, fails to meet the agreement’s various deadlines for clean-up and repair of the property, then the stay will be lifted and the lawsuit will proceed to trial as earlier scheduled.
One of Hohman’s West Douglas neighbors, Sioux Douglas, said she hasn’t seen much going on at the property lately.
“There’s been no sign of any kind of activity or clean-up associated with that first deadline,” Douglas said. “That’s a big a step. It will be hard to believe the contractor hired to do this will be able to accomplish that and meet that first deadline.”
Douglas said she’s glad that city staff and the Assembly are now committed to resolving the issue. But she notes the agreement gives Hohman most of 2013 to make repairs while neighbors have been enduring the deteoriating property for years.
“How long is this going to occur when we have the same health and safety problems?” asks Douglas.
CBJ Building Official Charlie Ford indicated last week that he’s in near-regular contact with contractor Leitoni Tupou.
Hohman is apparently out of state and out of contact. But Tupou said that he had workers at the house for two days last week assessing the property. He was also waiting for financial arrangements to be finalized by Hohman’s bank and waiting for inclement weather – including heavy rainfall – to subside before working on the property. Tupou said he didn’t want to endanger his workers on the sloping lot.
Hohman has contended his house was a million-dollar home before it fell into disrepair. He has partly blamed former tenants for all of the trash and debris. The property is now valued by the CBJ Assessor at a little over $125,000, with the structure valued at about $35,000.
Previous stories on the case:
- Juneau Finance Director Bob Bartholomew projected Gov. Bill Walker’s veto of about half of dividend funds will cost the city.
- Only three votes now separate two northern Alaska House candidates. Dean Westlake of Kotzebue has 780 votes, ahead of 777 votes for incumbent Rep. Ben Nageak, who’s from Barrow.
- Bus passes, child-care assistance, work clothing and other resources to get low-income tribal members into jobs are being cut in seven Southeast Communities..
- The U.S. Northern Command and Coast Guard have launched a major field-training exercise off Alaska’s northwest coast. Arctic Chinook is intended to demonstrate how local, state and federal agencies would respond to a simulated cruise ship accident. Coincidentally, a big luxury cruise ship will sail through the area while the exercise is under way. And to further complicate things, bad weather has just set in.