STAGNATION: S. Whitley addresses unused buildings

SOUTH WHITLEY — Every small town has a few unoccupied buildings, but buildings in the South Whitley downtown area which are empty or utilized as a warehouse have town council members concerned. One building in particular is owned by Mavis Whitehead which appears to be a warehouse inside and a potential fire waiting to ignite, according to town officials.“A few years back, a notice was given to Mavis and she opened the building for a day and said she was in business,” town attorney Greg Hockemeyer said. “We need to go through with the unsafe building inspection which is the best approach and we have zoning or land use ordinances that we could get technicalities with a business versus a warehouse.”Council president Tony Starkey believes the building is completely full with storage items which constitutes a fire hazard.“A few years ago, I walked through with the fire marshal and he just told her she needed to decide if it was a business or a warehouse because his rules were different depending on which way she declared,” police chief Dave Wilkinson said.Starkey believes the building is structurally sound, but requested Hockemeyer to check the legalities and the town’s options on a business verses a warehouse.