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Neighbors of crumbling building ask judge to stop city demolition effort

The owners of Jefferson City’s 202 E. High St. are asking a judge to stop the city from destroying two buildings who share an adjoining wall.

Last month, the city declared the wall collapse on High Street a public nuisance, which allows the city to address construction issues itself. Jefferson City ordered the owners of 202, Carol and Ruben Wieberg, to fix the structural issues within 60 days or else city officials would begin the process of hiring a company to demolish both 200 and 202 E. High St.

The Wiebergs, through their attorney David Bandre, moved the matter from city hall to the Cole County Circuit court shortly after the order with a request for judicial review.

Bandre asked Judge Patricia Joyce to stay, or pause, the 60 day requirement to allow for a new trial. In court documents, Bandre said demolishing 202 along with 200 would cause the Wiebergs to be “unduly and irrepareably burdened and damaged.”

After a section of 200 partially collapsed in June, an inspection showed both buildings were compromised due to a shared wall. The Wiebergs said demolishing 200 would cause significant damage or totally collapse 202.

Jefferson City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said the city would not attempt to demolish the buildings if the owners had their own plan in place.

The City always respects citizens’ rights to have a court review, under applicable law, the City’s administrative decisions on matters that affect private property rights.

City staff welcomes the opportunity to show that it’s processes are fair and due process was served in this matter. It is still the sincere hope of City staff that this matter can be resolved amongst the private parties.

Nevertheless, the City will continue to work to protect public safety and serve the public interest.

-Ryan Moehlman, Jefferson City Counselor

Bandre did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A hearing in the case is scheduled for April 15.

Bandre, said last month that demolishing both buildings would not be fair to the Wiebergs. The city said it would pursue demolition to ensure public safety.

Both buildings were built in the late 1800s. The city orderd the buildings evacuated shortly after the initial wall collapse last June. City engineers have since deemed both buildings dangerous.

The Wiebergs and the owner of 200, Andrew Neidert, have been involved in a lawsuit over their attached buildings since October. At the center of the lawsuit is an agreement dating back to the 19th century. No hearing is set in that lawsuit.

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