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Gutted Kingston Inn smell getting worse

KINGSTON — The Kitsap County Department of Community Development has determined that rotting food in a freezer within the remnants of the Kingston Inn is the source of the smell that has been wafting through the downtown area this week.

DCD code enforcement officer Steve Mount and building inspector Mike Barth inspected the site Thursday and discovered the source of the smell, plus the large number of flies that were infesting the area.

While DCD has done its part about securing the building and restricting access, because there is a health issue at hand, the Kitsap County Health District is now the lead agency on the problem. Both DCD and KCHD have made several attempts this week to contact owner Michael Prestley via letters and phone, but have not gotten any response. The letters spell out the corrective action the owner needs to take.

“We’re spending a fair amount of time trying to get the problem corrected,” said health district environmental health specialist Steve Brown. Contacting Prestley would help expedite the process to have the building demolished and ultimately, get rid of the stench of rotting food.

Mount said he has talked with the architect who is working with Prestley to rebuild and emphasized to him that the owner needs to contact the county as soon as possible.

Mount said his department’s primary concern is making sure the building is secured if it is dangerous and uninhabitable. Prestley has followed county code by installing a fence to restrict access and the county has posted its required code notice.

If the building is secure and there are no other problems, then the owner can take his time in working with his insurance company to get the paperwork cleared before any action is taken on the building.

But when there is a health issue, it’s turned over to the KCHD, which makes the determination as to what action needs to be taken to abate the situation and eradicate the nuisance.

Mount said getting rid of the smell would surely involve demolition and, once DCD got the OK from the health district and contacted with the owner, a demolition permit would be issued to the owner to start that process.

Typically, insurance companies want burned buildings left untouched until they have finished their investigations. The county allows this if there are no health or safety issues at hand. However, with all the complaints and Thursday’s onsite inspection, the county would like to do something about it as soon as possible, Mount said.

“If we don’t hear from the property owner and the problem persists, it might force the county to take immediate action,” Mount said. “(Entailing) some emergency court order request for us to go in and abate the nuisance.”

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