SHELBY – Demolition looms for an East Main Street commercial property heavily damaged by a large structure fire at the end of August.
Shelby City Council passed a resolution Monday declaring the remains of 50/52 E. Main St. to be, “insecure, unsafe, structurally defective, and dangerous to life and other property.”
Public safety concerns with heavily damaged property
The resolution also directs Shelby Mayor Steve Schag to enter into a contract with the Richland County Land Bank regarding demolition of the property.
Shelby Fire Department Chief Mike Thompson spoke before council, addressing the department’s assessment of the property as it stands today.
“We fought that fire exterior for most of it,” Thompson said. “We had (structural) collapses within five to 10 minutes. The roof and second floor are on the first floor.”
Thompson said a portion of the first floor, on the property’s west side, remains intact, but a lack of structural integrity caused the department to not travel further into the building.
“We took one peak in the basement down there and we’re like, ‘We are not going down there,'” he said. “The walls are now freestanding, and they weren’t designed to be freestanding.”
Councilmember Garland John Gates expressed concern regarding the safety of pedestrians on the sidewalk in front of the building.
“I would urge the administration, as soon as possible, that the sidewalk there be barricaded off,” Gates said. “There needs to be more than simply plastic fire tape.”
Schag said the issue will be addressed and the city will ensure proper precautions are taken.
Future options for 50/52 E. Main St.
Councilman Nathan Martin inquired about long-term plans for the property after demolition, if it will be built upon again or grassed-over.
Project Coordinator Joe Gies responded that prior to future plans, the property owner will be given a formal notice on Tuesday.
According to the Richland County Auditor website, 50/52 E. Main St. is owned by Charles Warfel.
Gies said Warfel will have 30 days to either come up with a plan on how he intends to fix the property or how he plans to have it demolished.
“If he (Warfel) doesn’t, at that time the Richland County Land Bank will take back over,” Gies said. “And, they’ll (Richland County Land Bank) start the process to get that down.”
Gies said the future of the property is to be determined, as Warfel remains the rightful property-owner.
If Warfel were to demolish the building, Gies said he would need to present a plan to council for approval, in accordance with the city’s demolition ordinance.
“And, if he’s going to try to fix or whatever, if that’s possible, he’d have to have a design professional state how that’s going to happen,” Gies said.