The Hebron City Council continued its review of residential and businesses nuisances, but one of the targets, Aaron Taylor, hinted the council’s tactics are an abuse of power.
Taylor, who owns companies under his name in real estate and heating and air conditioning, purchased a dilapidated triplex at 6th Street and Jefferson Avenue, was required by the council to give monthly updates on the property as he promised to have the house wrapped by January.
But Taylor went through a series of surprises with the triplex and had to replace the sewer line, along with installing new plumbing, and someone called the state to report mold and lead in the structure.
“First of all, the state doesn’t regulate mold. They do lead, but the place was gutted. I dealt with that for the first couple of months after I bought it,” Taylor said. “You can’t touch a place until the state says so.”
Taylor also discovered wet and rotted wood beneath the flooring, and he was glad he did.
“When we tried to jack up a corner, the wall broke away from the floor,” he said.
Taylor wanted to take his time deciding which kind of siding to use, along with windows and the doors, but he felt rushed by the council. Finally, he just stopped caring about the council’s demands.
“It’s my money, not theirs,” he said. Taylor has 12 properties around Hebron he has renovated, and with the nonstop inclement weather at the beginning of the year, along with the sewer and plumbing issues, renovations took more time than expected.
He said he asked his banker in December about tearing the entire roof off.
“We got the roof on and the weather changed again. It snowed and snowed,” Taylor said.
Tearing out the rotted wood took a couple of more months. Taylor has someone working on the property at night because he farms by day.
“I spent $10,000 more,” he said. “I wanted to it to look really nice.”
The former triplex is now a duplex with three-bedrooms and one and a half baths on both sides. Clip Stone material enhances the facade, and each side includes space for a washer and dryer.
Taylor anticipates the duplex will be ready to rent in the spring. He purchased the property in late 2018.
At its October meeting, the council discussed a notice served by the sheriff to Taylor, and Mayor Doug Huber said he was satisfied with what Taylor had accomplished at the duplex.
Huber also said a contractor had been hired to remove the debris in the yard and Monday, Taylor was wondering about the excavator parked at the duplex. He assumed it was the city’s.
On other nuisances, the council agreed to give landlord Larry Mitchell time to clean up 345 Willard Ave., after dead animals were discovered on the property and the tenants were evicted by the sheriff.
Additional addresses discussed by the council in October were:
121 S. 10th — The structure was painted, and the property removed from the nuisance list;
328 Lincoln Ave. — The weeds were cleared, however, appliances were still sitting in back. The council formally declared it a nuisance. The council recommended a fence to enclose the appliances;
212 S. 13th St. — removed from the list;
227 S. 4th St. — A microwave, box spring and trash are outside the home, which was formally declared a nuisance; and
718 Union Ave. — Formally declared a nuisance.
Huber wondered if the council shouldn’t discuss nuisance properties on Monday mornings, however, council member Denese Sudbeck objected, saying the council needs to discuss its business during the regular meetings.
“Monday mornings are difficult for people to make,” she said.
Council member Kurk Wiedel suggested a reviewer for rentals to ensure structures are livable.
Fairbury has a reviewer, he said.
“I’ll start looking at that again. You go in to make sure the house is inhabitable. Fairbury has the criteria,” Wiedel said.
“We don’t want someone using the position and going overboard,” council member Kyle Timmerman said.
Huber felt the same. Sudbeck said renters are sometimes taken advantage of because they need a place to live.
Wiedel will research Fairbury’s criteria and the council agreed the process shouldn’t be a burden on landlords.
In other business, the council discussed the entrance and exit to the Stastny Community Center. The entrance is to the east of the exit.
The entrance overlaps with the 81 Express entrance, Huber said.
If the entrance and the exit are switched with the entrance being on the west side of the driveway and the exit on the east side, the chance for accidents could drop.