Council orders demolitions, with stay

The Henderson City Council ordered the demolition of 747 and 753 Alexander Avenue at Monday evening’s regular meeting. Both properties are owned by Kenneth Stevenson.

According to Code Compliance Director Corey Williams, hearings were held on the property on September 6, 2005 at which Stevenson was present. Agreements that were reached at those meetings expired in January, however. The situation was reviewed by City Attorney John Zollicoffer and brought before the council.

Williams advised the council that Stevenson had done some work on the properties.

Stevenson spoke to the council in defense of his properties. He advised members that he has permits on both houses. He also told the council that he has put roofs on both structures. Stevenson claimed to have spent $60,000 in the past year of his own money in the area.

He told the council that he cares a lot about the neighborhood.

Stevenson claimed that local media has made him out to be a slumlord, an assertion he denied. As for the condition of the houses, he told council members, “I buy them that way from other slumlords.”

Stevenson complained to the council about a right-of-way between the two houses. He claimed that he had not wanted to do any work until the city was done “tearing stuff up”.

In reply to a question from council member Garry Daeke as to why the two houses have not been put on priority, Stevenson replied that he has 22 houses.

“I spread myself thin,” Stevenson told the council.

Council member Elissa Yount asked Stevenson what the difference would be between giving him a stay of execution of the ordinance to demolish the structures compared to the stipulations he was under in September. Stevenson’s answers were unclear. Her question to Stevenson regarding asbestos abatement also went unanswered.

Council member Mary Emma Evans came out in support of Stevenson, telling him that she has always admired his work. She wondered, however, what was taking him so long. When Evans asked Stevenson what he wanted, he told her 365 days.

In the end, separate ordinances were enacted ordering the demolition of both structures. Two separate ordinances were also passed allowing Williams to enter into a stay agreement with Stevenson for each structure, with Yount and council member Lynn Harper voting no in each instance.