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Del City takes action on dilapidated properties

By Lea Terry
Midwest City Beacon

After several years of code violations, vandalism and other issues, the City of Del City has set a timeline for deciding the future of two long-vacant commercial properties.

The council had addressed both properties at its Oct. 2 meeting, tabling a decision until Nov. 20. Owners for both properties appeared before the council at both meetings to make a case for why the properties should not be declared dilapidated.

The first property on the agenda was the former Abuelita’s Mexican Restaurant at 4640 SE 15 St. The property, which has been vacant for eight years, has been broken into and looted multiple times, including having wiring and other components stripped. Located right off the highway, the structure is also highly visible as people enter city limits.

Owner Mahmood Cohan appeared with his attorney Matthew Frisby, who said it was difficult for them to address the city’s concerns when they don’t know what they are. He said he had requested records related to the property, but were not notified they were ready until the day of the meeting, while the city asserted, they had fulfilled the information request in October. Frisby also pointed out that work has started on the property, but council members said they had visited the property that day and had not seen substantial improvement.

Mayor Floyd Eason pointed out that while some painting had been done, the workmanship was inadequate, without sufficient preparation done prior to painting. However, Eason said he thought the building was structurally sound and that there was still a possibility for the structure to be rehabilitated. Eason ended the discussion by giving the owner another 30 days to put together a plan to rehab the building.

The second property, at 5519 SE 15 St., was most recently a pawn shop. At the previous council meeting, owner Leona Grey stated she had a potential buyer but that the sale had not closed and that she could not do anything to the property without risking violating the terms of the contract she had with the buyer. Grey appeared before the council again at the Nov. 20 meeting, stating the buyer is conducting a feasibility study that is due to be completed on Dec. 26.

After that, she will know if the buyers intend to close on the property.

Council members had also visited that property earlier that day, and Ward 1 Councilman Michael Dean pointed out that there are no utilities to the building and that it has been boarded up for longer than the six months required by law. Ward 3 Councilperson Claudia Browne said she had spoken to residents in the surrounding neighborhood, and that many of them are concerned about potential safety hazards related to the building, which is currently partially boarded up.

The council voted to declare the structure dilapidated, setting a timeframe for removal to begin by Jan. 10 and end by Feb. 10.

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