Sebus protests business closure due to unsafe conditions

The recent meeting of the Weston Board of Aldermen spelled some bad news for a well-known Main Street business.

With the regularly scheduled Monday, March 12 meeting cancelled due to lack of quorum, the board instead held its meeting Wednesday, March 14. Chuck Sebus of Sebus Brothers Hardware attended the meeting to protest notices he and his brother William Sebus had recently received. Letters warning the brothers of dangerous conditions at two properties were sent out by the city early this month.

Sebus Brothers Hardware, located at 403 and 405 Main Street, was closed down by a vote of the board until dangerous building conditions can be addressed. Sebus Brothers has operated for decades and is known for carrying a wide range of products in the small space. The West Platte Fire Protection District recently released a memo stating the business was a high-risk target during a fire, based on the condition of the building and the density of its contents.

Several areas of concern were noted in the city’s notice, including repair or replacement of the front windows, removal of cement blocks and clutter from the rear of the building, repair/replacement of guttering and building fascia, repair of the leaking roof that has lead to damage to ceilings inside and clutter in the aisles of the store.

Sebus responded to the notice with a hand-written timeline to address several of the primary concerns by the end of September.

Board members said this was not good enough.

Alderman Tim Seymour said the leaking roof has ruined the interior plaster and there were buckets placed all over the store to catch drips. He was concerned a patron could be injured or killed by a collapse of plaster and that the store’s condition had become a life and safety hazard.

The aldermen authorized director of public works Mike Large to post signage at the store that it was closed and to hire a structural engineer to inspect the building. Depending on the engineer’s findings, work to repair the building could then commence. The code stipulates a hearing on any progress made be held in 30 days.

Alderman Joyce Burch abstained from the vote.

An old house located at 926 1/2 Thomas Street didn’t fare as well. The board voted to demolish the house within 30 days, with Burch again abstaining. The house was deemed unsafe and unsanitary according to city code and the building was ordered demolished within 30 days.

Sebus said he wanted to rebuild the house, which he said was a historic structure, and noted he often performed services to help the community. Mayor Cliff Harvey agreed that Sebus does help the community, but that doesn’t make him immune from city code.

Aldermen agreed the old home was too far gone to be saved and that demolition was the only answer at this point.