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NPR to demolish former restaurant, house on U.S. 19

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NEW PORT RICHEY — Plans will proceed to demolish a former restaurant building and a house on the northwest corner of U.S. 19 and Palmetto Road, New Port Richey City Council members decided.

No owner or other party appeared Tuesday night for the appeal hearing on the two structures, both built in 1960. The property owner BRE-2 Inc. had filed for an appeal on Jan. 21.

On Nov. 14, a city building official determined the structures meet criteria for slum and blighted property.

On a site of about 0.056 acre, the commercial building with 1,500 square feet at 7007 U.S. 19 formerly housed the La Fontana restaurant, Development Director Lisa Fierce explained in a memo to council members.

Behind the former La Fontana Restaurant, a single-family dwelling of about 1,000 square feet sits at 7005 U.S. 19. A burned recreational vehicle was left near the dwelling, Fierce explained.

Problems began nearly three years ago when a code enforcement citation was issued to the former owner on April 15, 2011, according to the city’s timeline in the memo. On Sept. 30, 2011, the business tax receipt expired for La Fontana.

Nineteen more incidents are listed in the timeline, including water and electrical service being turned off in 2011 and 2012. Three fires in 2012 are among other problems listed.

The owner could have challenged the city’s determination and opted to obtain building permits for repairs by March 20 and complete work with final inspection no later than Oct. 20. But nobody spoke on behalf of the property owner Tuesday night.

Council members voted to require the owner to demolish the two structures within 30 days of the appeal hearing, which would fall on March 17.

Should the city inherit the demolition project, the cost could amount to about $15,000, Fierce wrote. The city, however, could seek reimbursement through an interlocal agreement with Pasco County for funds from the federal government’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

corth@suncoastnews.com

(727) 815-1068

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