Saturday, January 13, 2007


It is hard to think of any word that has confused more issues than the word "rights." Nowadays, almost anything that anybody wants is called a "right" ~ a magic word that does away with the need for laws, logic or even common sense.

At one time, the concept of taking land for the public good was clear-cut. Everyone understood that the city could wrest property for roads, schools and hospitals and to relieve blight.

Little is considered as sacred as the right to own property.

Now it appears the city is trying to take this right away from some of our citizens.

Don't ever think that this could not ever happen to you!

This is a property owner's worst nightmare:

Over a year or two ago, Ricky and Ruth Case were approached by the Kellys who wanted to build the Summit Springs Development up on Fawcett Hill. They needed part of the property where the Cases live at 310 Captain Frank Road, at the corner of Captain Frank and Fawcett Hill Road.

The Kellys needed part of this property to widen Fawcett Hill Road for their planned Summit Springs Development.

The Kellys suggested to the Cases that they "donate" most of their front yard to the city to widen the road. The Cases refused. The Kellys then suggested that they donate the land to the Kellys who would in turn donate the land to the city. The Cases again refused. The Cases then offered to sell their land and house to the Kellys for $150,000.00. The Kellys refused their offer.

The Cases thought that was the end of the story.

Soon after, they were paid a visit by Pam Badger, the Ordinance Enforcement Officer. There were "complaints" about the property. The Cases stated that Ms. Badger was very nice to them and worked with them to allow time for them to clean up the property. Officer Badger made several visits and was pleased with the cooperation and progress made by the Cases.

It was not long after that the New Albany Building Commissioner paid the Cases a visit and told them that the situation was unacceptable. The Cases explained to the Building Commissioner they had been working with Pam Badger and he stated he did not care. He was Pam Badgers Boss.

The Cases have heard nothing from the building commissioner for almost a year.

On January 15th, the Cases were made aware that their house is on the "unsafe building" list from the city.

They were absolutely shocked!

The Cases have NEVER received any written notice of any kind to inform them of this.

They have been denied any due process whatsoever.

Of note, Mr. Case had surgery almost a year ago and has been on disability since then. He is under a doctor's care and might have to have additional surgery in the near future.

What is even more interesting, another house at 414 Captain Frank is also on the "unsafe building" list. This house was bought by the Kellys in hopes of putting a road down through the property to Captain Frank.

The house had all ready been renovated and has been rented out for the past two years.

Freedom of Speech would like to know why is this house on the "unsafe building" list when it is in quite good condition? Why is the Cases house on the "unsafe building" list without them being given due process?

We also want to ask why are other dilapidated houses in New Albany not on the list?

Are people misusing what the "unsafe building" ordinance is about?

Are people using the "unsafe building" ordinance to harass, threaten and eventually obtain property that they cannot get otherwise?

Shame on "every damn" person involved in this problem on Captain Frank Road!

And you Sir, Mr. Building Commissioner have some explaining to do.

We would like to know when was this property reported as an unsafe building? Who reported this property to the Building Commissioner?

Freedom of Speech will be asking Council President Larry Kochert to have a full investigation of this matter.

Is this the way the Garner Administration treats our taxpayers?

Freedom of Speech fears for anyone else who owns a piece of property not just on Captain Frank Road, but anywhere a politically connected developer is eyeing it.

The description of an unsafe building contained in IC 36-7-9-4 is hereby supplemented to provide minimum standards for building conditions or maintance in the city by adding the following definition:

UNSAFE BUILDING. Any building or structure which has any or all the conditions or defects hereinafter described shall be deemed to be an UNSAFE BUILDING, provided that these conditions or defects exist to the extent that life, health, property or safety of the public or its occupants are endangered.

Building Commissioner Responsibilities
As listed in Ordinance G-04-23

Cleanliness of Premises 150.101
1. Enter premises to determine compliance
2. Determine the Identity & Address of landowner
3. Send written notice by certified mail
4. Have the city remove material & vehicles
5. File a lien against the property with the county recorder for all cost incurred by the city for removal.

Procedure to file a lien on property
1. Building Commissioner to Recorder
2. Recorder to Auditor
3. Auditor to Treasurer
4. Treasurer adds to next tax bill to be mailed

Departments Involved:
Health Dept.
Police Dept.
Fire Dept.
City Attorney
Building Commissioner

To us, our rights are fundamentally important~I would not like to leave them to somebody else, and out of our control.