Piqua Commission hears residents’ concerns on homes


By Sam Wildow

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PIQUA — Residents voiced their concerns regarding meeting the city’s code regulations in regard to residential properties during the Piqua City Commission meeting this week.

Walda Reeves of Piqua spoke during public comment about a home she owns on Boone Street being condemned.

“The past four years have been a continual onslaught of code violations. I’ve attempted to correct these violations but have never been able to do so with the speed the city wants. My funds only allow me to do so much at a time,” Reeves said.

Reeves stated she has heard from both code enforcement and City Law Director Frank Patrizio, who have told her to have the home demolished. She said the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted work being done to improve the home before she received an order from the county to stop working on the home due it being condemned.

Reeves said Patrizio referenced her situation during a town hall discussion, saying contractors had taken her money and run.

“I’m quite angry with that insinuation,” Reeves said. “I have knowledge of his credentials.”

An engineer has deemed the home structurally sound, but Reeves said she now needs to provide drawings from an architect on planned improvements for the home.

Reeves, who is 80 years old, sat down in the audience at that time, and the remainder of her statement was read by someone else, who stated, “I would like to know why the city is so intent on having my home demolished. This is not how I envisioned my final years.”

Patrizio later responded, saying the city had taken Reeves to court two years ago over code violations and the case was dismissed. He said it was his understanding that a contractor had taken advantage of Reeves at that time and that new improvements were going to be done to the home. When nothing was done, the city filed again. The city currently has two open code violation cases involving Reeves in Miami County Municipal Court, one filed in May and another from June of this year.

Reeves’ son, Jonathan Reeves, also spoke during public comment to state he had been doing work on improving the home. A neighbor also spoke and said he had seen improvements being done to the home.

Patrizio said, when the city inspected the home, they found code violations both inside and outside of the home. The city suggested removing the porch, which did not have proper supports, and installing stairs.

“When we went inside, the conditions of the house were unsanitary. There were holes all over, there were vents hanging down,” Patrizio said.

Another speaker asked if the city’s code enforcement actions with Reeves had anything to do with a nearby church lot that was getting demolished. Patrizio said he knew nothing about that lot other than it was getting demolished.

Mayor Kris Lee suggested the involved parties meet with Patrizio and the city manager to discuss the situation.

Another resident asked why more grants could not be given to residents to help repair their homes.

City Manager Paul Oberdorfer said what the city receives through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding is “very limited,” adding that cities have “lost substantial local funding from the federal government.” The city typically has enough funding to address abatements, which is when properties get to the point of needing to be demolished. He said, at those points, fixing the house costs more than what it would take to demolish the property.

Later, during Oberdorfer’s report, he said the city’s leaf collection is going until Dec. 17 and there is a map online for residents to see when leaf collection will be happening near their homes. He asked that leaves be one foot from the curb and that no sticks or debris be added to the piles.

Oberdorfer also said the Route 66 stormwater project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the week, and the detour will be taken down after it is finished.

There were no items on the agenda for the commission meeting other than approval of the minutes of the last meeting.

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