By Gail Peckler-Dziki
Correspondent

A raze order for the Bella Vita Apartments, located at 8705 Antioch Road were the subject of a public hearing prior to the August 13 regular board meeting.

The owners of the building have hired attorney Brian Shook, of Lake Geneva, to represent them and request that they be given more time to repair the building, which has an estimated value of $750,000.

The Village of Salem Lakes building and fire inspectors have been working with the owner for the past 18 months. Jack Rowland, the Salem Lakes building inspector, declared the building to be “dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, due to the dilapidated or incomplete condition of said structure and that such structure, in its present condition, constitutes a public nuisance.”

The structure is currently uninhabited and the building and fire inspectors have been able to see each of the 20 units.

“When we do fire inspections,” said Salem Lakes Fire Chief Mike Slover, “we can go only in the common areas. We can’t enter any of the private areas unless we are there for a call.”

There were issues with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and with the lack of fire extinguishers.

“We have been meeting with the building inspector and are addressing the issues that we know of,” Shook said at the August 13 public hearing.

“We are waiting for his new list, so we can address those issues,” Shook said.

Problems with the building seemed to start with the roof, which is in need of repair.

Leaking from the roof has caused other structural damage.

Rowland stated that the needed repair to the building is more than 50 percent of the value of the building, which is estimated at a little over $750,000.

Shook did say that some work that required a permit began without that permit.

“It’s not that we don’t want to get the permit,” he said. “We thought that the work was so minor that no permit was required. We have every intention of obtaining the proper permits.”

Village president Diann Tesar, who toured the building recently with Rowland, said little to nothing has changed since the 1980’s.

“I lived there in the 1980’s before my home was built. I don’t think anything has changed since then,” she said.

After viewing the current condition of the building she said, “I don’t think anyone should live there now.”

The village board voted to give the owners one more month.

Trustee Dan Campion insisted that the board receive an update before the September meeting so the motion to give one more month was amended to include an update by the committee of the whole meeting on August 20.

“You were noticed about these issues 18 months ago and there was no sense of urgency until the raze order was discussed,” Campion said.

 
 

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