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‘Top Tech’ property garners interest, Belleview city liens stand in way

(Photo: Marion County Fire Rescue)

By Bryce Abshier – Contact

(Thoughts? Submit a letter to the editor here.)

The former location of Top Tech, considered by many now as a longtime eyesore inside of Belleview city limits, was the topic of discussion at a Code Compliance Hearing held earlier this week. The hearing featured real estate broker Michael DiDomenico, speaking on behalf of his client Mr. Jaideep Cherelenla, who has expressed interest in the old Top Tech property at 12006 SE Highway 484, as well as an adjacent property at 5272 SE 120th Street.

According to DiDomenico, his client would potentially be interested in purchasing the property. During the hearing, it was discussed that Mr. Cherelenla could possibly clear the property and hold it as an investment, or potentially develop it for immediate usage. The properties are currently owned by Mr. Sean Carpenter.

Standing in the way of any agreement, however, are a whopping eleven Belleview code enforcement liens. The property is under foreclosure proceedings initiated by the City of Belleview, with the amount owed totaling $59,471.17 as of December 7, 2023. The litany of liens range from violations related to unsafe structures, nuisances of garbage, derelict vehicles, and no business tax.

City documents explain that Mr. DiDomenico, the real estate broker representing Cherelenla, has approached the City of Belleview several times regarding forgiveness of the liens. To no avail at the hearing, DiDomenico again asked for guidance in this matter, to see if any solution could be found to forgive the liens.

Stacie Corbett, Special Magistrate of the hearing, explained that only five types of criteria could be considered for lien forgiveness: the gravity of the violations, any actions taken to correct the violations, the length of time taken to correct the violations, the cost of the repairs, and if there have been any previous violations at the property. As such, it was decided the current owner does not fit any of the criteria for a reduction.

City documents presented at the hearing outline how the property ended up at this point. Operating for many years as what looked to be a thriving mechanic garage, things initially went sideways for Top Tech in 2017, and the building eventually burnt in a major fire in 2021. “The subject properties are owned by Sean D. Carpenter, who previous owned and operated Top Tech of Belleview located at 12006 SE HWY 484. The business has not had a valid city business tax receipt or water account since 2017. In January 2021, there was a major fire at this property. The property was declared unsafe by the City Building Official,” city documents state.

Marion County Fire Rescue documents indicate that the property went ablaze on January 27, 2021. On that morning, a 911 caller on scene stated the mechanic shop was on fire, and one person could be heard screaming in the background for help. Units from Belleview Station 18, as well as five other local fire stations, battled the massive structure fire and extinguished the flames.

Reports from that day indicate one person was left seriously injured.

City documents also touch on the topic of the adjacent parcel at 5272 SE 120th Street. Reportedly, there is interest in purchasing this property as well. This property is commercially zoned and previously had a nonconforming use which allowed a mobile home on the parcel.

The documents state that “Mr. Carpenter, or persons authorized by Mr. Carpenter have occasionally lived in the mobile home. The water account has been shut off since 2021. The nonconforming use has expired. For many years, the property had privacy fence running along the property lines which prohibited Code Enforcement from inspecting the site. In 2020, a tri-agency police operation served on Mr. Carpenter lead to a Code Enforcement inspection.”

According to city officials, Mr. Carpenter has not contacted the City of Belleview since the fire occurred in January, 2021. Documents go on to read that “He has made no efforts to bring the properties into compliance and both properties would be subject to code violations today, if not for the foreclosure proceedings.”

As things currently stand, for now anyways, the “eyesore on 484” will live on a little longer.

(Thoughts? Submit a letter to the editor here.)

What Stands Today

City documents presented at the hearing show the present day condition of the Top Tech property, as well as the adjacent property where an uncared for mobile home sits. Blue pillars still stand upright, with stacks of tires and various other garbage debris scattered amongst the lot. Eleven code enforcement liens on the property total $59,471.17. The property is now under foreclosure proceedings initiated by Belleview.

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