PORT ALLEN — The City Council learned Wednesday night it will have to wait a little while longer to condemn a property near City Hall after years of public complaints.
But news that the city was one step closer in its efforts to eradicate problem properties was the news city leaders have impatiently been waiting to hear.
“I’m more happy for the people living alongside these properties. They are the ones that have had to look at them,” Councilman Garry Hubble said after the council meeting Wednesday. “Sometimes, government makes things more difficult than they need to be.”
At the meeting, City Attorney Lance Joseph informed city leaders they would be able to condemn the dilapidated home at 152 Atchafalaya St. at their next regular meeting in November. The council received a report Wednesday from a parish engineer deeming the structure unsafe.
Councilman Hugh “Hootie” Riviere, who is lobbying for the demolition, had hoped the council could condemn the property on Wednesday but Joseph said the city needs to first request the property’s owner to appear before the council during a public hearing next month before that vote can take place.
“Any time the council takes up condemnation, it has to follow state statute,” Joseph said. “It’s not properly before the council tonight because the report was just issued today. We still have to give her that due process.”
Riviere noted: “This house has had a blue tarp on it since (Hurricane) Katrina. … Mayor Lee has spoken with the owner and she said she’s ready to get this over with. She doesn’t want the eyesore reflecting on her name anymore.”
Several councilmen and Port Allen residents have started pressuring the administration to expedite the city’s condemnation process, which had gotten lax under previous administrations.
Joseph said the city is investigating about four properties that are eligible for condemnation.
The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Nov. 12.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter @tjonesreporter.