Council focuses on substandard houses | News

During its Sept. 27 meeting, the Gatesville City Council followed up on two houses which were ruled substandard structures earlier this year, but which have not been repaired during the time given for work to be completed.

One house, at 308 Fennimore St., has been on the Council’s list since January. A letter was sent on Jan. 11 to Dennis Berry, who has accepted responsibility for the repairs, and Berry originally spoke to the Council in January. The Council gave Berry 60 days to complete work at the house.

“Now we are in excess of 180 days,” said City Manager Bill Parry. “While the roof has been replaced, the work is clearly not done.

“I completely understand supply chain issues and some others things as well. You’re well within your right to demolish the structure,” he told the Council.

Barry told the Council on Sept. 27 that efforts have been made to repair the house, but there have been unexpected delays.

“We’ve made progress,” he said. “I agree it’s been a slow pace, and there are numerous times I’ve contacted the contractor. He’s way behind, but I believe we’re well past 50% of the work being done.”

Berry said he recently learned from Robert Featherston, Gatesville’s code enforcement officer, that there are plumbing issues that will need to be fixed “at an additional $3,000 cost that I didn’t expect.”

Berry added that the contractor has said the work can be finished in a month, “and I have no doubt it can be done in 60 days. It’s taken more time than expected. I hope you’ll allow me to complete the work.”

Berry presented photos of work done and a list of work completed to the Council.

“So, you’re saying four weeks (to finish work)?” Councilwoman Barbara Burrow asked.

“That’s what the contractor says,” Berry said. “I’d like to have a little more time – until the end of November.”

Greg Casey said in his view significant improvements have been made so far: “It looks like y’all have done quite a bit as far as shoring up (the house) to get the bones back together.”

Mayor Gary Chumley recommended the Council give Berry until Oct. 25 to update the Council on progress.

“You’re here because of a lack of communication,” Burrow told Berry. “By Oct. 25 we expect to see significant (further) progress at the very least.”

A second house, at 2006 Bridge St. was addressed by the Council in April and the owner was given 90 days to make repairs or demolish the structure. The owner instead sold the house.

Parry said the owner, Josiah Wilson, had a new wall put in but that there are still several concerns, including broken windows and items piled in the backyard.

“He is clearly 90 days past the extension you gave him and we have not seen anybody working at that house for at least 45 days,” Parry said.

Wilson did not appear before the Council, but sent an email on Sept. 2 stating: “We have had a delay in construction due to multiple projects going on. No need to recommend demolishing. This will get done sooner rather than later.”