Owners of the old Safeway building downtown that has been empty for over a decade have a demolition land use permit filed with the City of Roseburg planning department.
A demolition permit was filed in 2009 but expired when the owners did not act on it. Another one was filed on Oct. 26 after four months of derelict building fees from the city.
According to the county assessor’s office, the building that was built in 1963 is currently owned by Mary DeRose and Pat Cedoline and has a real market value of $383,983. The owners could not be reached on Wednesday.
During the long vacancy, the vacant property with a 21,500 square-foot building has gone through the gamut of replacement ideas — from another grocery store to a town center to a boutique hotel.
Roseburg Community Development Director Stuart Cowie said he is taking a wait-and-see attitude.
“Even though we’ve issued a demolition permit, I will believe it when I actually see the wrecking ball crash into it,” Cowie said.
According to the permit, the owner had to receive permission from the fire department, public works department, Roseburg Urban Sanitary Authority, and the Douglas County Building Department before proceeding. According to the building department, the property owners had not yet obtained a demolition permit with the county. They have six months to obtain that permit. Cowie said the property owners also have to get it checked out for asbestos before moving forward.
Fire Marshal Monte Bryan said someone from the property did get him to check the building and he gave the approval with “no objections.” He said someone also came forward and asked about having the fire department use the building as a training site like the team did at the Windmill Hotel over the summer.
The old Safeway building is one of 30 buildings in Roseburg that are being fined for being derelict which the city defines as unoccupied and boarded or unoccupied and unsecured. Since the beginning of July, the City of Roseburg has collected over $3,800 in fees for commercial and residential buildings registered as derelict.
The Roseburg City Council created the ordinance in December 2017, with the intent to improve the look of the city by making sure buildings looked inhabitable. Under the ordinance, the city can register buildings considered derelict for the owners and was added to the municipal code in December 2017. The building owners were given six months before the city registered the derelict buildings and started assessing fees.
Cowie said the city is “making headway” on the issue and seeing property owners make improvements.
“It could be the ugliest building you’ve ever seen, but as long as it’s secured and the lawn has been tamed, then they are good,” Cowie said. “The whole point of this is so you don’t have a whole bunch of buildings that are like ‘what happened to that place? It’s all boarded up and empty.’”
Other buildings registered as derelict include the former Rite-Aid downtown and K-Mart on Stewart Parkway. The owners of the large commercial buildings have taken steps with the city to meet the requirements to remove the derelict status and put a stop to the fees.
Residential buildings are charged a $302 application fee and $119 for every month the owner does not make the required changes including the month the building is initially registered. For commercial buildings, it is $545 for the application fee, and $545 per month. After six months of not meeting the requirements, the fees more than double and the city may put a lien on the building which could lead to foreclosure.
“This is by no means intended to be some type of fee generator for the city,” Cowie said. “If anything, we are losing money when we’re dealing with these with how much time we have to spend to board them up, get people out of them if they are in them, then staff time with all of the legal notices we have to send out.”
“Before, it was kind of this perfect world where the ordinance was written that everyone was responsible for their property, but that wasn’t happening,” Cowie said. “It’s interesting what some fees will do to motivate people to say ‘what do I have to do to fix this problem?’”