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Nuisance buildings at corner of W. 13th and Walnut streets could be demolished

CEDAR FALLS – City staff is recommending the neighboring homes and accessory structures at 710 W. 13th and 1303 Walnut streets in Cedar Falls be condemned and demolished.

“Extended vacancy and the resulting disrepair, and the structural deficiencies viewed while onsite” were the reasons given for the recommendation that will be weighed by City Council after public hearings are held Nov. 1.

Structures 1303 Walnut Street

The homes and accessory structures at 710 West 13th Street and 1303 Walnut Street could be demolished.

During the hearings, the owner or person in possession of the property will have the opportunity to defend the dwelling and accessory buildings, and explain why they should not be declared a nuisance.

A Condemnation Committee, consisting of Councilors Susan deBuhr, Mark Miller, and Frank Darrah, inspected the properties Oct. 8, as well as Building Official Jamie Castle, Fire Chief John Bostwick, County Health Officer Eric Heinen and other officials, after an “administrative search warrant” was obtained.

The inspection alleged a number of code violations, finding inoperable vehicles, dead trees, dead animals, trash, evidence of vermin, weed growth and “excessive amounts of storage in the backyard and side yard” on the premises.

The homes were described as “insanitary,” and having been “neglected and beginning to deteriorate.” There also were violations related to having no clear path of egress to any door, as well as floors having deteriorated, and several of the doors and windows being blocked and not operable.

The owner, Lloyd Hodges, recently died, but the properties have a history of complaints spanning a few years that were never fully addressed after promises had been made to clean and repair the structures.

When reached by telephone Monday, Kendall Tack, a spokesman for the estate, who noted he no longer has any legal rights over the properties and is not the executor, said, “I have a telephone call with my attorney, and I’ll be able to better lay out a plan after that.”

Hodges was described as a “hoarder” by people who knew him, and Tack said he faced difficulties when it came to cleaning up the property. He also expressed dissatisfaction with how the legal process has unfolded in Cedar Falls.

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