Last Wednesday, the Sebastian City Council had a discussion on how to move forward with the building that Crab E Bills resides. A contract engineer recently inspected the facility and suggested that part of the building may have to be torn down to protect public safety.
So far, the back part of the building near the water has been condemned. Also in the inspection report are numerous areas found with termite damage, moisture damage, and visible mold.
When the city gave notice to Crab E Bills, the eatery hired attorney Peter J. Sweeney. He was present during the meeting and told the council that a solution must come quickly.
Sweeney stated that while the inspection talks about safety, there’s been no discussion about the maintenance required by the landlord since 2014. He noted that the problems with the building “should have never gotten to this point.”
“I have not seen an engineer typically issue a 60-page report without signing and sealing it,” Sweeney told the City Council.
“The report you have in front of you is dated October 7, 2021. If this were ‘potentially catastrophic,’ as one councilmember suggested surfside, why did nearly a month go by before your building official came and condemned it on November 3,” Sweeney added.
Mayor Jim Hill suggested they create a committee to gather public input from citizens.
Sebastian Councilman Chris Nunn suggested the city hire a firm specializing in contracting and architecture with old buildings. Nunn wants a firm to determine the “real status of the building.”
Nunn is against moving the occupant out of the building because he believes it will put them out of business.
The latest inspection report from the city staff did determine that the front of the building appears safe.
Councilman Ed Dodd suggested that if terminate and moisture damage is visible to the exterior decay, it could also mean damage to the interior walls in the front of the building. Dodd also said an evaluation showed damage to primary structural components to the front of the building.
“If I lived in this as a house, I would move my family out. I wouldn’t move them to the living room. It’s that simple. That’s my position.” Dodd said.
The City Council has now directed City Manager Paul Carlisle to work on a plan that will most likely include a more intrusive evaluation of the building and then create a committee to move forward from there.
Carlisle will present the plan at the first City Council meeting in January 2022.