This old house

This old house by David Lias The Vermillion City Council could have come down with a harsh decision � one that would have resulted in Troy Boysen paying a $100 daily fine for not completing work as scheduled on his large, historic, but run-down house at 104 N. University Street.

It opted instead to give Boysen a bit more time at its regular meeting Tuesday � but not much.

�The timeline in a situation like this is very short,� City Attorney James McCulloch, said.

The city could assess Boysen for missing deadlines of his agreement, �but only if you set forth the conditions very specifically.�

McCulloch said assessments would go through a public hearing process to become a lien against the real estate in September.

�He would only have a very short period of time after July 18 to comply with any waiver that you are suggesting,� he said.

The council agreed to table action on Boysen�s request to modify the agreement until the July 18 city council meeting. At that same meeting, aldermen will consider the daily assessments that could be levied for Boysen not being in compliance with the current agreement.

City Manager John Prescott noted that the goals set in an agreement formed between Boysen and the city in November 2004 have not yet been met.

Boysen has cleaned up the grounds around the house, and replaced and sealed the the structure�s attic windows.

Restoration of the front porch, however, remains unfinished. Porch pier replacement and porch restoration were to have been completed by May 23, 2004 and Aug. 31, 2004.

Because of high costs of milling many of the individual pieces of lumber to fit, Boysen decided to remove the porch and include its restoration project in a business plan with interior renovations.

Siding repair and paint stripping of the house was to be have been completed by July 31, 2004. Work on the south and west exterior of the house is incomplete. Boysen was given a new deadline of Oct. 18, 2004 to complete siding repair and paint stripping, but did not meet it.

Painting of the house�s exterior was supposed to be finished by Sept. 18, 2004. Boysen was granted an extension to Oct. 18, 2004, but didn�t complete the work. According to Prescott, paint priming appears to be more than half completed and makes the house look painted where primer has been applied.

The city gave Boysen more time to complete the painting. Priming was supposed to be done by Dec. 1, 2004; painting, according to the agreement, was scheduled to be complete by July 1, 2005.

The agreement also called for Boysen to present a business plan approved by a lending institution indicating financial viability of porch restoration and interior renovation before July 1, so that building permits for that portion of the project could be issued.

Boysen requested yet another extension Tuesday, telling city council members that he has made progress in such areas as rear porch demolition, rear siding repair and replacement, first floor blueprints completion and electric utilities removal.

The agreement of November 2004 needs to be modified, he said, because weather conditions have made the July 1 painting deadline unrealistic. He also indicated he needs more time for floor plan completion and historic grant applications.

Boysen requested that exterior painting begin no later than Aug. 1, with a completion date between Aug. 15 and Sept. 1.

He also told the council he wanted to modify the agreement so that floor plans and blue prints would be completed on Nov. 1, and a business plan approved by a financial lending institution would be presented to the city manager no later that Feb. 1, 2006.

�It hasn�t been working very well the past four or five years, has it, as far as getting it (the house) painted, and getting some of this other stuff done?� Mayor Dan Christopherson asked.

�What do you mean?� Boysen replied.

�We need to have some resolution to it somehow,� Christopherson said. �You have to hire somebody who is going to do it in a certain time frame, because assurances don�t seem to work. At some point, you have to get the work done. There�s just too much history of it not getting done.

�You have to either hire somebody to do it,� he said, �or you have to give it up.�

Boysen told council members that a great deal of restoration work has been accomplished at the site since June of last year. �I have to take responsibility for the failings in the agreement,� he said. �But it�s my position that what I�ve laid out in my proposed changes is realistic.�

Alderman Mary Edelen told Boysen that the council has heard from at least one resident of his neighborhood who is unhappy with the lack of progress being made on the house.

�Frankly, none of us are very sympathetic to your situation, because this project has been going on for so long,� she said. �The house is pretty much an eyesore in the neighborhood, and this project just seems to go on forever.�

Boysen disagreed.

�My feeling is this house will be painted by Aug. 15,� he said. �And my feeling is that when I have a business plan submitted, that there will be at least my version of how this all will be resolved on the inside. So I do feel there is an end in sight.�

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