City begins condemning buildings, enforcing codes

In an effort to enforce buildings codes and clean up Hazard, city officials have begun condemning buildings for not being up to code. This apartment complex on Memorial Drive was one of the buildings condemned and shut down.

This month, city officials began enforcing the city’s codes by condemning and demolishing properties that are not up to code.

Hazard Police/Fire Commissioner and Assistant City Manager Tony Eversole said the city has always had certain codes for buildings to remain safe, but they haven’t been enforced until now.

“There’s always been existing codes but a lot of them were not enforced,” said Eversole. “We’re taking action.”

Eversole said that many of the landowners of targeted properties were notified back in April, giving them plenty of time to fix the places up. Last week, officials began acting on the notices and condemning buildings.

“I think the first letters, we sent out 40 something letters (notices) in probably April,” said Eversole, explaining that some of the landowners have actually acted on them and fixed their properties. The ones that haven’t, Eversole said, are going to be condemned or demolished depending on severity.

So far, Eversole said the city has condemned properties on Hill Street, Moore Street, Memorial Drive and has condemned and partially demolished a property in Woodland Park. Many of those property landowners were notified of the code inspections, Eversole said, however the Memorial Drive property was not notified.

“The property on Memorial Drive was not (given a notice). This was an emergency situation due to all the violations,” said Eversole. “That one was shut down immediately and the tenants were made to evacuate while we were there.”

Eversole said the city helped to relocate the tenants of that particular residence, and it has been the only place so far where tenants needed relocated. “We contacted the Red Cross, contacted KRCC and talked to several people while we were doing that. Just about all of them were relocated. One was taken to a shelter. Everything worked well that way. That has been the only place where people had to be relocated.”

Hazard Fire Department Chief Les Smith said there were multiple complaints made about the Memorial Drive property, which led to the inspection.

“We inspected the building and found a lot of violations, a lot of safety issues — ways of egress blocked, doors open, ceiling falling in, black mold, you name it,” Smith said. “(There were) electrical wires hanging open, breaker boxes with no covers on them. The building is just in bad disrepair, it’s not safe.”

Smith and Eversole said the city will continue to inspect and enforce the codes for buildings.

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