Atlantic B&B owner facing fines for violating City Code
September 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson
The owner of a bed and breakfast business in Atlantic is set to meet with City officials today at 10-a.m., to request more time to meet an October 1stdeadline to complete repairs on the exterior of his business, which is on the National Register of Historic places.
Roger Steffens, owner of the S.F. Martin House at 5th and Poplar Streets, told the Council Wednesday evening, he has taken, and continues to take, steps to complete the restoration of the structure in a historically correct manner, but rushing to complete them by the October 1st deadline would result in a less than aesthetically pleasing appearance. Steffens said he wants 2-more years to complete the job. The building has been an eye sore in Atlantic, especially on the east side, for nearly 15-years, while the inside is pristine. Steffens said he received a letter from City officials saying he would be fined $250 every month after October 1st, if the work is not completed according to City Code, by the deadline.
Steffens said also, he received a letter from the City saying work must be completed on one specific side of the structure. City Administrator Doug Harris acknowledged the City sent Steffens a letter in May, saying work needed to be done on the west side of the building, but sent a corrected letter on April 30th to say it was the east side that needed the most attention immediately. Steffens said he only received two letters from the City, one in May the other in August. Harris produced a copy of the letter sent in April, but Steffens claims he never received it. Steffens said he will need more time to “Do the work the right way,” and that he’s already spent “Tens of thousands of dollars” on the on-going project, but he’s not willing to do the job hap-hazardly.
Atlantic City Councilman Shawn Shouse says it’s not the type of work being done that is the problem, it is all about the amount of time it is taking to get it done. Shouse said by Steffens’ own admission, he is taking too long. He says that’s what the council feels, as well. Steffens thinks he’s being singled-out by the City, but Shouse said that’s not the case. Shouse said the City has sent out notices to other property owner’s who are not in compliance with the Code.