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Bella Vista City Council discussed resolutions ordering the razing and removal of three structures on Suits Us Drive and a grant that could save the city $500,000 on its proposed Mercy Way corridor improvements during the Monday, May 13, work session.

The structures, located at 9384, 9386 and 9390 Suits Us Drive, need to be razed because they are dilapidated and unsafe, according to a staff report prepared by Community Development Services director Doug Tapp.

Tapp wrote that his department has attempted to get these properties along Suits Us Drive rehabbed and brought to code or razed for five years.

According to an August 2015 letter written by former Community Development Services director Chris Suneson, the department inspected these properties in February of that year, and a follow-up inspection was conducted in July that year.

According to the letter, no progress was made between the initial inspection and a follow-up inspection, though in early August caution tape, warning signs and a portable storage unit were placed onsite.

The letter highlights unsafe conditions, including a failed roof at 9386 Suits Us Drive and a carport that appears incapable of supporting any load; and at 9390 Suits Us Drive nuisance conditions in the front violate city code, and roof members were rotting near the center of the structure.

That was in 2015.

More recent photos, included with the council's meeting packet, show what appears to be increased deterioration in portions of the structures' roofs.

"It's a hazard to the community; it's unsafe. It appears abandoned," Tapp said.

Staff attorney Jason Kelley said that, while these are three neighboring properties, they each have different owners -- who have been given legally-required notices -- and should be judged on their own merit.

The city council will open a public hearing to consider each structure, he explained.

If the council approves the resolutions, he said, the property owners will be notified and have 30 days to tear down and remove the structures on their land.

If they do not, he said, the city will hire workers to demolish the structures and dispose of the materials, and the property owners will be billed for these costs with a lien placed against their lots.

The council also examined a resolution to utilize Federal-aid funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program, or TAP, to assist with Mercy Way improvements.

Senior planner Derek Linn said that, while the city is currently benefitting from a federal grant that covers 80% of the city's overall expense for these improvements, this particular grant can be applied to 80% of the city's construction expenses related specifically to non-motorized traffic improvements to the Mercy Way corridor, to a maximum of $500,000.

The whole project is estimated to cost $5 million, per estimates produced in 2015, he said, and costs have likely increased since then.

The proposed improvements include additional travel lanes for vehicles, as well as a bicycle lane on the north side of the bridge and a pedestrian lane on the south side of the bridge.

City council's support is a prerequisite to submit the application, which is due by June 3, Linn said. Application results can be expected later this summer, he said.

Tapp said the design phase of the improvements is roughly 50% finished.

The council also heard updates on Sunset Drive and saw a conceptual design for a new police and courts building produced by a needs assessment the police department has conducted with the Rogers-based architecture firm, Hight Jackson.

General News on 05/15/2019

Print Headline: Council considers condemning Suits Us structures, additional grant for Mercy Way improvements

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