Thursday morning local attorney Jeannette Surrisi updated members of the Marshall County Unsafe Building Board on the former Boetsma Home Furnishing structure on Jefferson Street in Culver. She suspects there was previous communication with former Building Inspector Chuck DeWitt.
Surrisi said there are 3 buildings on the property. In August 2021 the first demo order was issued for one of the buildings to be torn down and ordered the other building to be abated. Mr. Boetsma did tear down the first building at the last minute after the bids were let but before the demolition happened. He didn’t make the required repairs to the other building.
The building inspector wanted to inspect the other buildings, but it took a warrant from Judge Bowen to make that happen. Repairs were stalled on the second building and subsequently, in July 2022 the Unsafe Board went from repairing the second building to demoing the second building. Mr. Boetsma was served with the demolition notice in person during a board meeting and notice of the September 2022 meeting. He didn’t attend the Sept. meeting where the board unanimously approved to order to demo the second building.
Anita Boetsma also owns the buildings and wanted to address the Unsafe Board. Attorney Surrisi told the board they need to narrowly focus on there are two options to accept or decline the bids. She said the last order was to demolish and that order wasn’t obeyed. Surrisi said, “It is your right to accept the bid to demolish today. It’s within your discretion to set another public hearing and stay the demolition but now is not the day to make that decision.”
Mrs. Boetsma said a lot of this went on without her knowledge. She told the board her ex-husband has no reason and is very ill. Anita said she is ready to sell the property as is and be done with it.
County Building Inspector Steve Howard gave members of the Unsafe board an update on the property. The building that has the fire was put back together in an acceptable manner including reframing the wall between the two buildings.
Inspecting the bigger building by the use of a warrant, Howard told Mr. Boetsam what corrections needed to be completed. While there is a lot of stuff in the building, it is in pretty sound shape. Mr. Boetsma has made an effort to fix the roof of the third building.
Attorney Surrisi told the board the second building was not ordered to be repaired but to be demolished. She said choosing to repair was not an option once the order to demolish was issued. He should have attended the September meeting and argued for that option.
Surrisi told the board they can accept the bid for demolition and keep the process moving forward or stay the project still accepting the bids and set another hearing to allow time for Mrs. Boetsma to make repairs or sell the property. She said the Demo order stays in place until there is a public hearing to modify or reverse the order.
Unsafe Board member, Bill Cleavenger motioned to accept the bid of Jerry Reed Excavating of Lakeville for $9,500 to complete the demolition. The motion was seconded by Keith Hammonds. The vote was 5 to 1 with Jim Masterson voting no.