Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

September 11, 2013

Still waiting: post-flood problems slow to resolve

By Leeann Akers - Editor
Journal-Times

Sept. 11, 2013 — Cymilee Napier lives in her grandmother's old house in Olive Hill. The Tygart Creek Elementary School teacher resides there with her husband, Johnny, and their two-year-old son, Elan.

The young family is trapped inside the home because the building next door hasn't been cleaned since the massive flooding of 2010.

The Napiers attended the Olive Hill City Council meeting last month but so far have seen no progress in getting the building torn down.

“It smells like mold and flood,” Mrs. Napier told the Journal-Times. “And it’s even worse when it rains.”

The building was home to Lykins Insurance before the floods. According to Napier, other than some superficial cleanup done by the city, the building remains untouched.

Rushing flood water washed out one wall of the building's basement, opening the structure to the elements.

The hole, which runs almost the full length of the building, is supported by one steel pole.

“I am afraid that someone could get hurt over there,” Napier said. “God forbid someone fall into that mess or the building itself falls down.”

Napier believes the city is within its rights to condemn and demolish the building. However city leaders aren't so sure.

“The building can't be torn down with liens or a mortgage against it,” said Mayor Kenny Fankell. “We are looking into all our options but we have to jump through some hoops and make sure we go about this in the right way.”

Fankell said a letter was delivered to building owner Donnie Lykins on Sept. 3, giving him 45 days to “take care of the building.”

Lykins has been to the city building for a building permit, which he cannot get without EPA approval.

“I have to get the building code enforcement to hold a meeting to get a permit to go before the EPA and get it checked for asbestos, to go back to the city to get a permit to knock it down,” Lykins said.

City Code Enforcement Officer Taylor Duncan said Monday that Lykins has requested a hearing.

“In the meantime, folks at the state are working with Mr. Lykins to get it cleared for demolition,” Duncan said. “The hearing will be scheduled in the near future and it will be public. At that meeting, Mr. Lykins and the board will decide the next course of action.”

Duncan said Lykins had expressed interest in tearing the building down on his own, which could be done before the code enforcement board meeting happens.

The Napier family is more than ready to get its back yard back.

“I know there are lots of other very important issues in this town but this is the one I live beside,” Napier said. “The city came and cleaned out some of it but it still smells and is a safety issue. I'm not trying to cause a lot of trouble for the city, but it seems like if you don't cause a big stink, nothing gets done.”

Leeann Akers can be reached at lakers@journal-times.com or by telephone at 474-5101.