The Zionsville Town Council unanimously approved an agreement with the owners of the Citgo property during their meeting Monday night, Dec. 5.
The town is to pay the owners, EBO, LLC $25,000 to demolish the buildings. In return, EBO will drop the lawsuit the owners filed against the town.
“There were some claims filed after the original hearing by the town council (Monday, Sept. 26),” Town Attorney Andrew Buroker said. “There were some inverse condemnation issues and spot zoning claims made by the owners. In essence there was a lawsuit against the town. This settlement would resolve litigation without cutting time off of when we would like it demolished.”
The town has 15 days to write the check to the owners. The town must then wait two days before demolition can occur.
Terry Jones, director of planning, said they are still trying to figure out when demolition will occur.
“We are in the process of getting bids,” he said. “We obviously had to wait until this went through before we could go forward. We are currently looking at the bids and seeing who can get in there earlier. If there is a difference of only a couple dollars and someone can get it done earlier we’ll go with them.”
Jones said it is conceivable that the buildings on the property could come down as early as this weekend.
“We have to write the check and wait two days,” he said. “If a company is able to get it done this weekend, we would certainly try that.”
The council approved the demolition during a public hearing on Monday, Sept. 26, but the owners of the property filed an appeal. A hearing was supposed to take place Monday, Oct. 31, but attorneys representing both sides reached a preliminary agreement before the parties went to court.
During the September public hearing, several building code issues were brought to the council’s attention including holes in support columns, electrical issues, moisture control problems and a failed roofing system. The town told EBO that the property was unsafe and a public nuisance.
The original agreement was that the owners had until Nov. 3 to sell the property before the town would demolish the buildings.
Buroker said the owners had several issues and wanted to be sure the town was not taking the property using imminent domain.
“The concern continued to be that the town had interest in development and was taking it over using imminent domain,” Buroker said. “That was never the case. The state has a detailed process for doing that anyway.”
The Citgo Gas Station went out of business on March 10, 2008, and has been empty ever since.
The agreement states that the town will demolish all buildings on the site but will not remove any underground storage tanks or structures, which the owners removed in March 2009.
“We will not be held responsible for any environmental effects,” Buroker said.
ALSO AT THE MEETING
The town council unanimously approved to remove the REI property from the Tax Increment Financing District.
The property was rezoned to residential from commercial to allow an apartment complex to be built.
The project was approved during a Sept. 6 meeting, pending the removal from the TIF District.
“We agreed to do this to help support taxing agencies,” Mike Latz, redevelopment commission president, said. “We felt it was appropriate to take it out of the TIF (District).”
The next town council meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3, in the Town Hall Beverly Harves Room, 1100 W. Oak St.