Remedy sought for dilapidated building

A Portales resident is in negotiation with the owner of a rundown structure on North Austin Avenue to purchase the property and has gained the city's approval to demolish it.

The structure was declared a dangerous building by the Portales City Council in May along with four others in Portales. It has a dilapidated roof and incurred fire damage.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Portales resident Juan Baca plans to demolish this building at 1309 N. Austin, a building deemed dangerous by the Portales City Council.

At the council's last meeting, Juan Baca, a retired state employee, approached council members requesting to remedy the property provided that the property be sold to him by the owner.

The city has a lawsuit against the owner to demolish the property.

"I just liked it before they burned it and I just didn't get there quick enough," said Baca, who's had his eye on the property for a while. "I should be the owner within the next week or so."

Baca estimates he'll be purchasing the building, owned by Buck Lafferty of Oklahoma, for about $15,000. The building is in a condition that concerns neighbors, including Baca, who lives in the area.

"I would like to demolish it myself so the city doesn't incur that expense," Baca said.

City council members gave him 90 days to demolish the building after the sale is complete, but Baca expects to finish the project sooner than that.

City Manager Tom Howell said the city will get a portion of the sale of the property because the city has several liens on the property, but ultimately, city officials seemed enthusiastic about Baca's proposal.

"The city doesn't want to spend money," said building inspector Sammy Standefer. "Anytime we can get a homeowner to remedy these problems, it's better. The last thing we want to do is tear these buildings down."

Standefer said the other dangerous buildings still need to be taken care of.

"The city council is really trying to work with people," Standefer said.

Dangerous buildings are big concern for the community and a priority for the council, which created a $40,000 budget to deal with the problem.

"Dangerous buildings are more than a beautification issue," Standefer said. "We're tackling the most difficult cases because owners are not complying."

Baca said he's not sure if he's going to put another building on the property.

"It doesn't look good and it's been vacant for so long," Baca said. "Once it's cleaned up, it's going to look nice. I'll be leaving the trees up but the building needs be torn down according to the city."

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