Action Expected Soon on Washington Meth Building

By Mark Carlson, KCRG-TV9

WASHINGTON, Iowa — Owners of the Goncho Apartments building in Washington, Iowa have been given one last chance by city officials to clean up meth contamination before they take action.

“I think you’ll see action soon,” said Bob Shellmyer, a city council member who has been monitoring the situation closely. “I ask about it every time we have a council meeting.”

Shellmyer said building owners have been given a “final extension.” If the owners don’t act the city will likely intervene sometime this summer, he said.

The city found an apartment in building contained meth residue in December 2012. Later testing revealed meth residue 50-90 times greater than acceptable limits in five of the 16 units. Police secured and evacuated the building the following month.

The building sat idle for all of 2013, with the belongings of many who lived there still inside. Police Chief Greg Goodman said last year that former residents could not get inside until the rooms went through a professional cleaning.

In March of this year, a city commission voted 3-0 against co-owner Jared Miller’s petition to overturn a previous ruling that labeled the site a “dangerous building.”

The city could clean the building themselves, tear it down or attempt to sell it. Such actions would require help from the courts, said Shellmyer.

“Really I hope the [owners] do something,” said Shellmyer. “I don’t want this to fall on taxpayers, that’s not right.”

“I really want to see it gone,” said Nels Miller, a former resident who lived on the third story near where a meth lab was found. “I don’t think I’ll ever get my stuff back.”

Online court records lists a court date for the owners and city officials for July 14.

An attempt to reach the building’s owners for comment was unsuccessful.

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