AUBURN – The Auburn City Council voted 4-2 Monday to retain the nuisance declaration on a building complex that helps anchors the corner of highways 136 and 75.

City Attorney Angelo Ligouri said the city went through the process to impose the nuisance declaration because the buildings facing J Street and Central Avenue had fallen into disrepair and had façade bricks and windows poised to fall to the sidewalk below.

New owner, Ruth Heywood, said repairs made on the former Caples building ended potential for falling material.

She said since she has had control of the property she has removed truck loads of debris, cleaned up the property and opened a portion of the Highway 136 side to its first business in years.

Heywood: “You’re telling me that cleaning them up and getting an actual business in one of them, that has had junked piled in it for the past three years, is not progress.”

Ligouri told the city council that the bulk of the problems at the root of the nuisance declaration have not been remedied and the city will not get a second chance at a nuisance declaration.

Ligouri: “If we remove it, we’ve notified that this is no longer declared a nuisance. So, once that’s done, if she makes no improvements after that, how are we going to put it back on?
“We removed it in the first place. The improvements weren’t made, we still removed it. How are we going to put it back on? We can’t.”

Councilman Rick Janssen moved to remove the nuisance declaration after Heywood said it is a hindrance to getting funds to make improvements. She said businesses do not want to locate in a building that has a nuisance declaration.

Janssen: “Yeah, my motion is to remove the nuisance abatement and then keep an eye on it and see how were are doing on it. I think it’s going to help her out if we remove it.”


Councilman Tom Clark proposed a compromise involving sections of the building complex.

Clark: “One of them (building sections), release it off the nuisance declaration there and let her work on that and still keep the nuisance on the other ones. She can show good faith and we’ll show good faith that we are trying to work with her.”

Councilman Jeff Jeanneret joined Janssen in supporting removal of the declaration.

Ligouri said the nuisance declaration does not stand in the way for Heywood to make improvements to remove the nuisance. He said the city has not entered a rehabilitation agreement with Heywood.