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Burned Out House Causes Concern in Silver Grove

Like an albatross hanging over Silver Grove, a house at 5218 Mary Ingles Highway that incurred significant damage due to a structure fire on January 24, 2014, is the center of an ongoing debate: The blighted property has sat on the highway while discussions persist on what to do with it between property owner Paul Dennis, East First Street resident’s Chris and Shara Kluesner and city Code Enforcement Officer, John Lauber.

“We haven’t done anything yet, but something is going to have to be done soon,” Mayor Neal Bedel said. Lauber added that the city is exploring several courses of action on Dennis: continual fines as the house stands; city repossession, followed by demolition of the property; condemnation, tearing down of the house with a lien placed upon it. Dennis, owner of the home since November, wonders why all of these violations have seemingly cropped up out of left field in his eyes, because there were no known major property violations before he took over ownership. 

“I want it to be very clear, that when I bought the property, I was told from the mayor, who spoke to the city attorney, that there was no violation on this property,” Dennis said.

The Kluesners have grown weary of the drawn out process. “Isn’t it time for the city to consider tearing it down,” Shara pleaded with the council members. She added that no one wants to head down the litigious path on the matter, but it may occur if nothing is resolved. 

According to the Campbell County Property Valuation Administrator, the burned out house was purchased in 2014 for $3,000 a little over nine months after the fire.

Other notes:

Cindy Minter, Director of Planning & Zoning for Campbell County, introduced a new Flood Zone program to Silver Grove – one of the first cities in Northern Kentucky part of the initiative, she said. The city “has entered into the community ratings system with FEMA. This is a program where we take credit for things that we do to proactively manage our properties and our flood zones. In turn for that, we get classified into different classes, starting with a class 10, which is the lowest, and going on up from there. 

We get incremental discounts from our flood insurance policies,” she said. The city is entering in as a class nine, beginning on October 31. 

Police Chief Doug Holt, lone officer in the city due to the recent departure of its other, will be working Saturdays as needed. Though being stretched thin, he doesn’t view it as a big deal, because it is short term and he will do what’s in the best interests of the city. Councilman Scott McCarter questioned the need for an officer to be on duty during the day shift on Fridays and Saturdays due to his unavailability on those nights. McCarter said everyone at the table would love to have two full-time officers but it wasn’t financially feasible, saying he had a hard time with the city investing $200,000 per year towards police when it is one of the poorest 10 surrounding counties. “It is ridiculous,” he said.  To address the lingering questions facing the police department, city council will hold a special meeting at the city building next Thursday, June 11, at 7:00p.m., 308 Oak Street, Silver Grove, KY 41085.

Written by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor

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