Court finds in favor of Ballwin demolition
By: Jim Erickson
The city of Ballwin has won a court case involving a structure that the city, as well as nearby property owners, wanted to tear down because its deteriorated condition made it a public nuisance and a dangerous building.
At the center of the dispute is a long-unoccupied and deteriorating house on Breezeview in southeastern Ballwin. Earlier this year, the city took action to demolish the structure but was stymied by the discovery of so much personal property in the home that pre-demolition tests for asbestos couldn’t be made until the items were hauled away.
Before that step could be completed, a person claiming to be the trustee of a trust that owned the property responded to the city’s demolition notice. The notice had been mailed to the person listed on public records as responsible for the property and the city wasn’t aware there was a new trustee with a legal interest in the dwelling.
Ballwin subsequently filed suit against the trustee, Walter Adam Yung, and Clyde C. Farris Jr. The legal action, which says the property is encumbered by a deed of trust in favor of Farris, sought to enforce a tax lien for $8,624, representing expenses the city incurred while attempting to tear down the structure. Legal expenses involved in bringing the suit also were sought.
Yung subsequently filed a counterclaim against Ballwin for its actions and sought damages for personal property hauled away before the demolition process was halted.
In a recent decision, Circuit Court Judge Patrick Clifford ruled in favor of Ballwin in its suit for demolition-related costs and against Yung in his counterclaim. Yung was given 60 days to make specified repairs to the outside of the house and to permit Ballwin building inspectors into the home to determine if any interior damage caused by raccoons was fixed.
A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5 on Ballwin’s claim for more than $15,000 in legal expenses related to the case.