Historic home to be demolished unless sold by Mar. 27

March 6, 2019

The David City City Council has decided to give the owners of the Chauncey S. Taylor House less than 30 days to sell the property or face its demolition.

The home at 715 Fourth St. in David City has been listed as a nuisance since 2009 and was condemned in September 2018. The Board of Zoning Adjustment gave homeowners Kathy and Roger Treat in November 2018 six months to bring the house and property into compliance and 60 days to have it completely emptied out of all of the items.

Because the Treats were unable to completely clear out the house in the time given, the City Council discussed which steps to take during its Feb. 27 meeting. Ward 1 Council Member Skip Trowbridge proposed the city give the Treats about a month to sell the house to a responsible party who could bring the property into compliance. Because the home is listed on the historical registry, he said he would hate for the city to be forced to tear it down.

“I was deeply involved in this nuisance situation 10 years ago, and I don’t understand any valid reason why it continues today. I don’t wish for it to go down. I don’t wish to see that house with a wrecking ball or a crane taking it down,” Trowbridge said. “I don’t want the publicity across the state of Nebraska with pictures of the house coming down and we’ll just have some ugly meetings I’m afraid if we do, and we’ll get some bad publicity.”

City Attorney James Egr told the council that he had been faxed two more letters from Roger Treat on Feb. 26. They outlined his declining physical and mental health as the reasoning behind the couple not being unable to clear out the house by the deadline. The letters also expressed the Treat’s intent to transfer the property to the couple’s son, Boston Treat.

Egr said Boston recently graduated from college and has a desire to fix up the property and run a violin/guitar manufacturing business out of it, similar in fashion to David Wiebe, who owned the home before selling it to the Treats in 2003. Whoever comes into possession of the property, Egr said, will have to fix it up immediately.

Although the Treats have notified the city of Roger’s poor health, Mayor Alan Zavodny said that was inconsequential because there is nothing preventing the Treats from hiring someone to clean out the house for them. Trowbridge argued that since the title of the property is in Kathy Treat’s name, she is the one ultimately responsible for the home, not Roger.

The council decided by a unanimous vote to give the Treats until the council’s 7 p.m. March 27 meeting to present the council with proof of sale of the property to a responsible party. Once the proof is given and the council determines it is to a responsible party, the Treats will be given 30 days to finalize the sale. Otherwise, the city will take possession of the property and complete the demolition process.

“I think we have a course of action,” Zavodny said. “To get it sold or we take our next step.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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