Awning on vacant theater suspected to be unsafe

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Nov. 29, 2017 at 10:21 p.m.
Updated Nov. 30, 2017 at 7 a.m.

City officials are concerned that the awning on a longtime vacant theater at 206 E. Constitution St. is unsafe and violates city code.

City officials are concerned that the awning on a longtime vacant theater at 206 E. Constitution St. is unsafe and violates city code.   Kathryn Cargo for The Victoria Advocate

Victoria officials suspect the awning on an old vacant theater at 206 E. Constitution St. is a safety hazard in a high foot-traffic downtown area.

On Nov. 15, the city's code enforcement office posted a public hearing notice on the building that states, "Inspection of the above referenced property has revealed suspected violations of the standards ... of the Victoria City Code."

A hearing is pending for Jan. 25 before the Victoria Building and Standards Commission.

"It's the structural integrity of it," said Julie Fulgham, director of city development services. "It's deteriorating. It's a public safety concern. What we're concerned about is trafficked areas in the downtown area."

The state of the awning was brought to the attention of city officials by the Victoria Fire Marshal's Office before Hurricane Harvey, Fulgham said.

At a hearing, officials would present why the awning doesn't meet codes and recommend the commission order the owner to repair it, Fulgham said. The commission would then determine whether the awning should be demolished or repaired.

20171129135510051 by Anonymous MLrzDo on Scribd



"There will be a chance for the owner to say what he wants to do with the awning," she said.

Attorney Bernard Klimist would represent the owner, Brad Richards, if there is a hearing. Klimist said the issue will probably be resolved long before the hearing date.

Klimist said although he has yet to officially inspect the awning, it appears to be structurally sound.

"That awning is just like it was before Harvey," he said. "It survived a Category 4 hurricane, and it's still the same. Other than the appearance of it, I'm curious to see what the city believes is dangerous about it."

Klimist said that before the hearing, city officials and Richards will probably have engineers inspect the awning.

"At the face of it, I'm at a loss because before all this happened, it was insured and passed an insurance inspection and went through a Category 4 hurricane," he said. "I'm not really sure what could test it more than that."

Officials called for a hearing because Richards didn't respond to the first notice about the awning, Fulgham said.

If a property owner doesn't comply with an order issued by the commission, the city will repair the structure and file a property lien on the building.

"We haven't received any correspondence back in regard to the awning," said Juan Briones, city senior code enforcement officer.

City officials previously asked the owner to secure the building in March 2016 when a broken window and side door to the theater was open, Fulgham said. Richards voluntarily complied and secured the building by boarding up the openings.

Klimist said Richards' ultimate goal is to renovate the theater to honor its late owner and his previous partner, Rubin Frels. He said he didn't know when Richards would begin renovations. Klimist said he's not certain why renovations haven't begun but said litigation over the property and Hurricane Harvey were hurtles Richards had to overcome.

"I can promise you if he restores the building, it will not have an awning with the appearance that one has," he said. "If he's going to restore it to honor Rubin, it will be restored whether or not the city can show it's a danger or not."

Related coverage

Day 1: Here comes Harvey

Day 2: Brace yourself

Day 3: 'Prayers protect us'

Day 4: 'We thought we were going to die'

Day 5: 'At least God let us live'

Day 6: 'It's the luck of the draw'

Day 7: 'Everybody will pull together'

Day 8: Guadalupe floods parts of Victoria

Day 9: Texas Zoo evacuates animals (w/video)

Day 10: The Long Road Ahead (w/video)

Day 11: Residents rely on families to rebuild

Day 12: For some, normal still far away

Day 13: Church offers refuge for devastated town

Day 14: Victims find hardship, opportunity (w/video)

Day 15: FEMA frustrates Harvey victims

Day 16: Displaced and in disarray

Day 17: Disaster for humans means catastrophe for pets

Day 18: Nature interrupted (w/video)

Day 19: 'It was like we had been bombed'

Day 20: Students returning to school feel weight of Harvey

Day 21: International Crane Foundation loses office after hurricane

Day 22: Ranching structures, cotton mostly damaged by Harvey

Day 23: Port Lavaca struggles back after Harvey

Day 24: Refugio: 'We're trying to get back to normal'

Day 25: Nonprofit leaves people lost after Harvey

Day 26: 'We are human beings like everyone else'

Day 27: Refugio schools find way to reopen

Day 28: Bloomington schools begin year in different classroom setups

Day 29: Methodist church serves those in need after hurricane

Day 30: Scientists measure damage to endangered species' habitat (w/video)

Day 31: Medical community feels impact of Harvey

Day 32: Harvey's speed leaves many in harm's way

Day 33: After Harvey, Seadrift couple forced out of home

Day 34: Bloomington Elementary School educates students in FEMA dome

Day 35: School districts share issues with state, US senator

Day 36: VISD students observe See You at the Pole

Day 37: Expectant family struggles after Harvey (w/video)

Day 38: Woodsboro pulls together after Harvey

Day 39: Housing options slim for displaced families

Day 40: SBA approves more than $500M in disaster loans

Day 41: Hunger greater in Crossroads post-Harvey

Day 42: 'Harvey broke me'

Day 44: Goliad baby born as hurricane swirled toward Crossroads

Day 45: Mother recalls 'scary' birth during Harvey

Day 46: Harvey devastates homeowners without insurance

Day 47: Officials have no details on housing relief

Day 48: Harvey impacts couple's 2 Victoria businesses, Rockport home

Day 49: Crews begin repair work on historic McFaddin church

Day 50: Hurricane, flood force Jaguars to make adjustments

Day 51: Texas Zoo thanks Vickers students for donation

Day 52: Seadrift women helping people affected by hurricane

Day 53: Mold creates big problem for homeowners

Day 54: Crossroads public agencies deal with FEMA challenges

Day 55: Special delivery

Day 56: Texas Gulf Coast mayors discuss Harvey aftermath

Day 57: Tenants sue after Harvey eviction

Day 58: Nonprofit directors face difficult fundraising decision after Harvey

Day 59: VISD applies for waivers to reduce Harvey burden

Day 60: Victoria's relief efforts lacked coordination, leadership

Day 61: Popular restaurant battles back from Harvey

Day 62: City looks to buy sprinkler controls for $160K

Day 63: Housing after Harvey (w/video)

Day 64: City looks to help with hefty water bills

Day 65: Men's shelter, soup kitchen closed because of Harvey

Day 66: Watt routes almost $1M to Crossroads' hungry

Day 67: Recovery group seeks members, community leaders

Day 68: Habitat volunteers help Harvey victims rebuild

Day 69: Lawmakers, counties to discuss Harvey response

Day 70: Oyster season opens after Harvey; new rules adopted

Day 71: Crossroads leaders talk storm damage to lawmakers

Day 72: Symphony to open concert season after Harvey delay

Day 73: Harvey recovery group works to measure unmet needs

Day 74: City considers ways to shore up water system

Day 75: County officials: Mobile homes need more oversight

Day 76: Recipient of state honor persists despite Harvey setbacks

Day 77: Heroes, lessons emerge in Harvey's wake

Day 78: Harvey, budget shortfalls challenge local leaders

Day 79: Salvation Army traditional holiday meal to continue

Day 80: City water had no bacteria despite Harvey outage

Day 81: Leaders still don't have Harvey recovery details

Day 82: Devereux officials remain hopeful despite hurricane damage

Day 83: Bloomington students, district still feel impact of Harvey

Day 84: Officials consider waiving school accountability ratings

Day 85: FEMA center in Cuero to close Nov. 22

Day 86: Zoo to spread its wings again

Day 87: Recovery group urges residents to apply for FEMA

Day 88: Rural Victoria County fights for help after Harvey

Day 89: Council to revisit rules on temporary housing

Day 90: Customers, employees respond to Lacks, Harbor Freight reopenings

Day 91: State officials remove sunken damage along Texas coast

Day 92: Refugio couple lose roof, but not hope

Day 93: Salvation Army Thanksgiving meal a success

Day 94: Home improvement stores prosper on Black Friday

Day 95: 'They are small, but their voices are loud'

Day 96: Harvey increases construction business, causes shortage of workers

Day 97: Tourists return to area ravaged by hurricane/a>

Day 98: DeWitt County unveils drone program

Helpful information

Where to get water, gas and other supplies

Helpful information after the storm

Updates on city services


SHARE


Comments


Powered By AdvocateDigitalMedia