CHIPLEY - The City of Chipley is taking steps in preparation for assuming ownership of the Mongoven Building, located at the corner of Fifth Street and South Railroad Avenue.
The city took physical custody of the property in 2008 by court order, although the building still belongs to Dennis and Sally Carrasquillo. Both reside outside the area and have not paid taxes on the property in several years. City records show the Carrasquillos had accumulated code violations exceeding $136,000 as of 2012 for the property's condition, and property records show more than $12,000 in delinquent taxes in owed.
City Attorney Michelle Jordan is petitioning the court to grant an order to abate a nuisance, which would allow the city to take ownership of the property and ultimately move forward the demolition of the structure.
Council members gave Jordan approval during Tuesday's city council meeting to seek signed releases from adjacent property owners that would absolve the city of any liability for damage caused by the structure.
Condemned in 2010, the building began to deteriorate more quickly after a faulty gutter system let water inside, causing problems for adjacent properties.
In other business, the city officially adopted a moratorium on the newly enacted Amendment 2 to the Florida Constitution after the ordinance's second reading a public hearing. The amendment was effective Jan. 3 and allows for marijuana to be prescribed to patients with "debilitating medical conditions," such as cancer and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Jordan explained the moratorium is not intended to go against the Amendment, but rather to give governments time to gather public input and develop a plan to regulate dispensaries and cultivation in a way that complies with state law.
Council members also awarded the contract for Phase II of the Fifth Street resurfacing and drainage improvements to Panhandle Engineering and Construction. The city will soon begin negotiations with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for a start date on the project, which is funded through the FDOT Small Community Outreach Program (SCOP) grant.
In other items, the council agreed to renew a contract with the Chipley Housing Authority that allows police officers to patrol the housing areas on an overtime basis. The housing authority reimburses the department for any cost incurred through overtime.
Council members also voted to waive $3,311.50 in impact fees for a Chipola Area Habitat for Humanity residential construction site, located on First Street and approved a special event application for the annual Community Easter Egg Hunt. The event will take place at Shivers Park from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 27.
Chipley City Council will meet again in workshop at 5 p.m. on April 6.