Chipley sees movement on code enforcement issues

CHIPLEY –Chipley City Council heard updates on several ongoing code enforcement issues when the council met in workshop Thursday, July 8.

First, the Council addressed what is commonly known as the “Coggin properties” which were recently demolished at the corner of Highway 77 and Highway 90. Code Enforcement and Chipley City Council approved the demolition agreement with property owners Wink and Lucy Carmichael in July 2020. The agreement called for the property to be demolished down to the dirt and grassed, actions which remain unfinished. Code Enforcement issued a notice of violation on the property last month, asking for corrective action to be taken that included removing debris from the connecting buildings, removing the remaining concrete, and planting grass.

Lucy Carmichael addressed the Council during ThursdayÂ’s workshop, citing a number of engineering issues the family has encountered but assuring the Council that despite a briefly considering a deviation from the original agreement, the project is moving forward.

Carmichael also advised the Council of engineerÂ’s recommendations for removing the concrete pad.

“[The engineer] suggested that we come off of the adjacent buildings – Capital City Bank and the salon buildings – at least ten feet because we don’t want to compromise their foundation,” she said. Carmichael went on to say she hopes to see the property become rehabbed and useful in the future.

“It’s a highly visible lot, and it should be used in some manner. It could be improved upon once we get the concrete pad up … it needs to be useful, and it needs to be able to generate income.”

The Council asked Carmichael about the provision of the original agreement which stated they would address structural remains of the original building on the propertyÂ’s north side, which are still attached to the adjacent salon, The Styling Station.

Carmichael did not give a definitive answer but did say she believed the salon owners were proceeding with their own plans for repair.

Carmichael is unable to give a time frame for the project to be completed until she confers with the contractor.

The Council also addressed the issue of the property located at 506 Main St., previously owned by Mack Sowell who is no longer a resident of the area. The City voted in March to accept bids on the long-abandoned property after foreclosing on code enforcement liens which had accumulated to more than $70,000. Kirby Holt placed the winning bid of $16,000.

City Clerk Patty Tanner advised the Council that contract received this week from the attorney was ready to be signed and that the 60-day countdown for the stipulation requiring the new property owners to being the site into code compliance would begin once the sale was complete.

Finally, Council members addressed the issue of the Mongoven Building, which the City auctioned off in 2019 in hopes of seeing the 117-year-old building brought up to code. The owner, Kristy Speights, had hopes of restoring the building but has not been able to move forward with those efforts.

City Administrator Dan Miner states the City has applied for a Community Development Block Grant Program Hometown Revitalization Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-HRP) grant through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). If the estimated $852,800 grant is approved, the City will move forward with reacquiring and then demolishing the building.

Miner reported the DEO conducted a site visit last week with favorable feedback.

Chipley City Council will meet again in regular session at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 13.