Editor’s Note: This version of the article corrects a previous error that named the wrong person as owner of the Crown Motel. This version also corrects the motel’s address.
The Pine Bluff City Council on Monday will consider a series of resolutions removing property that had previously been included on a list ordering them torn down, including the Kress building and the Crown Motel, when they meet at 5:30 p.m.
Alderman Glen Brown Jr., who chairs the Development and Planning Committee of the council, is sponsoring three of the resolutions, each of which says that the owners have brought the properties up to code and they are no longer a public nuisance.
The resolution dealing with the Crown Motel at 321 W. Fifth Ave. lists Amanda and Ravindra Kushwaha as the owners.
Two residential properties, one at 3213 Port Road, owned by Eric Howard, and 1708 Circle Drive, whose owner is not listed, were also signed off by Brown after a meeting of the committee Tuesday.
The resolution dealing with the Kress building at 326 S. Main St. is being sponsored by Alderwoman Thelma Walker, another member of the Development and Planning Committee. Brown and Alderman Bill Brumett, who is the third member of the committee, both said at a committee meeting last week that they did not support the Kress Building’s removal from the condemnation list.
At that committee meeting, Walker said she had communicated with Elvin Moon, the owner of the building who lives in California, asking that he be permitted to board the property up until he decided on a future use.
In 2015, Moon was found guilty of failing to tear down the building after a trial in Pine Bluff District Judge John Keaney’s court. He was given six months to demolish the building and was fined but appealed that ruling to Jefferson County Circuit Court.
In March 2017 Circuit Judge Robert H. Wyatt Jr. found Moon guilty of failing to tear down the property and gave him 10 days to begin tearing it down and 30 days to complete the job. Moon was also told if he failed to do that, he could be held in contempt of court.
In August 2017, Pine Bluff City Attorney Althea Hadden explained why Moon had not been found in contempt of court for failing to comply with Wyatt’s order to tear down the Kress building.
“Mr. Moon has consistently been in communication with the City about the progress of the demolition of his property,” Hadden wrote in an e-mail.
“He contracted with Mr. Bradshaw (Mr. Brick) to demolish the Kress Building, which proceeded until the building was fully gutted. He was, subsequently, contacted by a member of the Downtown Development Committee about preserving and renovating the building. During the dialogue between Mr. Moon and Downtown Development, there was a delay.
“Once I communicated with him that objectives of Downtown Development does not supersede the resolution, ordering the razing and removal of the building, nor the Court’s order to demolish said structure, Mr. Moon instructed Mr. Brick to resume the demolition. Because he has actively demonstrated his sincere intent to comply with Court’s Order and the directive given by the City Council, a Contempt Petition has not been filed… .”
Also on Monday, an ordinance to close an additional 100 feet of unimproved property in the 5900 block of Duke Street will be up for the first reading.
The council at a previous meeting voted to close a portion of the street so that a business could locate there; after a survey of the property was completed, it was discovered that the additional property was needed.
Also up for a first reading will be a proposed ordinance establishing new travel policies for city officials and employees which, according to the ordinance, would make travel simpler, more easily monitored and reduce paperwork and record keeping. That ordinance is sponsored by aldermen Lloyd Holcomb Jr. and Steven Mays.