Council give Tisdale extension; streets still closed

Published 12:34 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Andalusia City Council gave John Tisdale and Tisdale Family Properties a 7-day extension to stabilize a building at 101 Pear St. and South Cotton Street, or it will be torn down.

0921-buildingTwo weeks ago, the council held an emergency abatement hearing about the building, when it heard from a structural engineer hired by Tisdale, Brad Johnson of Johnson and Associates Engineering of Dothan, that the structure was unsafe.

In the hearing, Tisdale agreed to work with Brad Johnson to get the building secured in two weeks, or by 5 p.m. today, Wed., Sept. 21, 2016.

The council agreed to abate the property as recommended for demolition, but put the demolition on hold for two weeks.

Meanwhile, it closed portions of Pear Street and South Cotton Street for the safety of the public.

Councilman Terry Powell was not at the Sept. 6 council meeting, but later contacted Mayor Earl Johnson and other council members saying he wanted to talk directly with Tisdale “in an effort to see if anything could be done.” Powell said it had been suggested to Tisdale – by Wiley Ward, who has no affiliation with the city – that the city might purchase the building, demolish it, and use the property for parking.

The mayor said nothing productive came of the meeting.

“But it did push several days off of the calendar. I think Mr. Tisdale may claim he was relying upon us to make some kind of offer and therefore did not begin the work.

“My recommendation is that we extend the deadline on bringing the building up to code as far is safety is concerned, which is what he said he would do two weeks ago. I’d like to extend that deadline by one week.”

The council agreed to the delay, but not before several members expressed that they would agree with “a bad taste in my mouth.”

Powell said that he had no intent to make anybody in the city look bad.

“Nobody sitting in this room has a worse taste in their mouth than I do,” Powell said.

Meanwhile, a second issue has arisen, Director of Planning Andy Wiggins said.

Wiggins said the structural engineer had completed plans for repairs. However, the plans called for the use of steel beams, and city officials learned Tuesday that wood was being substituted.

“Without a set of plans, we don’t know what he’s (Tisdale’s) doing,” Wiggins said. “This is standard practice on anything being done in the City of Andalusia.”

The city building inspector had already informed Tisdale that the work must cease until altered plans are presented; meanwhile, city attorney Mark Christiansen formally notified Tisdale by letter, which was to be hand-delivered Tuesday night.

Christiansen said in the letter than Tisdale appeared to have “unilaterally changed the plans.”

The letter also stated that any changes to the plans must be approved by an engineer before the work can continue.

No further action is required by the city, the mayor said.

“Our people will inspect it,” he said “If it’s not satisfactory at the time of the deadline, we’ll have tractors there the next morning.”

The new deadline is 5 p.m. on Wed., Sept. 28, Mayor Johnson said.