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Eckstein, boro agree to plan to save his house

April 1, 2014 News Extra

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EVANS CITY — Butler County Commissioner Jim Eckstein is delighted with the agreement he reached with borough officials that will stave off the demolition of a house he owns on Wahl Avenue.

“I went from condemnation and ripping the house down to the (building codes) inspector and the head of council being very fair,” Eckstein said. “I think it is an amicable solution.”

Eckstein bought the empty house three years ago after being abandoned by its former owner.

The borough’s code enforcement officer a few months ago sought to have the home condemned and razed because it violated the building codes.

The council also wanted to take action on the house because they said Eckstein was not keeping his promise regarding the repairs he said he would make on the house, which they said is unsafe.

But on March 4, a team including borough council President Lee Dyer, code enforcement officer Richard Mannas, building permit official Kevin Harancher, police Chief Joe McCombs and Mayor Dean Zinkhann visited the property with Eckstein.

After a tour, Mannas came up with an agreement regarding the repairs needed as well as a timetable for the completion.

According to the agreement, which is expected to be approved by borough council at the April 7 meeting, Eckstein must complete the repairs in three phases.

He has until Friday to remove the dilapidated rear porch, add a door and hand rail, and relocate the existing steps to the door. Eckstein said on Monday that he has removed the porch and temporarily covered the area. He said he will complete the rest of the work by Friday.

By May 4, Eckstein must remove a number of trees, and complete several repairs to the front porch. By June 4, Eckstein must have the front porch and exterior window frames and exterior trim painted, repair the roof leaks and replace the shingles, and repair and replace certain gutters and downspouts.

Eckstein estimated the repairs will cost him about $800, which is far less than he expected to spend.

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