Indiana City Urging Property Owners to Cleanup Tornado Damage

March 16, 2014

Owners of structures damaged by tornadoes that hit Kokomo, Ind., in November are being urged to start removing the debris or begin rebuilding.

The city’s code enforcement section has begun sending letters to owners of damaged structures urging them to make a decision about how to proceed, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

Some owners say they haven’t started to repair damage from the Nov. 17 storms because they are still working with their insurance companies.

“We’re just waiting to settle with the insurance company so we can start rebuilding,” said Kyle Rayl, president of the Soupley’s Liquors chain, whose damaged store hasn’t been touched since the tornado.

“We’re still talking to our insurers, but we should make some progress in the next couple of months.”

Rayl said he’s also waiting for insurance adjusters to decide whether the former Hewlett Packard building, a two-story office structure that he co-owns, can be rebuilt or will have to come down.

Deputy Fire Chief Nick Glover, who leads the city’s code enforcement efforts, said officials haven’t pushed the issue with property owners until now because of the harsh winter. But he said it’s time for owners to make decisions about their properties.

The city has waived the usual permit fees associated with rebuilding efforts but also has begun issuing demolition orders for properties that can’t be salvaged.

“Our goal is to get people back up and running,” Glover said.

City and state officials have estimated that more than 100 commercial and business structures were damaged by the tornado and that up to 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

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