No permits yet for roof cleanup

Few repairs at San Benito Food buildings

Repairs to the collapsed roof of a building at San Benito Foods in Hollister will be the first structural repairs to any of the company’s buildings in nearly 20 years, according to city records.

Records of building permits by owner Neil Jones Company and San Benito Foods over the past 40 years show few repairs or renovations and little construction work at the multiple buildings owned by the sprawling food processing company, which occupies more than four blocks east of downtown Hollister.

City permit records obtained by the Free Lance show that since 1983, the only substantial San Benito Foods projects at buildings it owns were a new roof on one building at 865 East St. in 1990, and a conversion of a warehouse to office space at the same address, both by Neil Jones’ predecessor, Northwest Packing.

The collapse of a section of roof at one of the company’s structures on Sally Street Sept. 18 will require new building permits from the city before the mountain of debris can be removed from inside the structure, according to the city’s permit office.

The company sought bids for the roof repair after it collapsed, causing no injuries. One company that submitted a bid to remove the debris, CVE Demolition of Fresno, worked with the Monterey Bay Air Resources District last week to obtain clearance for the debris removal project, according to the company and a spokesman for the district. The district concluded there was no danger of asbestos contamination from the debris, clearing the way for its removal, according to the spokesman.

As of Sept. 30, the CVE company had not been awarded a bid and had not applied for a permit for the debris removal.

Meanwhile, Sally Street is closed to pedestrian traffic and the building section is surrounded by yellow caution tape.

Hollister Fire Marshal Charlie Bedolla said he directed San Benito Foods to bring in its own structural engineer to examine the building, identify necessary repairs and ensure it is safe for occupants before it can be used. 

Bedolla last month described the Sally Street building as “old” and “dangerous.” He said a city building official will have to sign off on any recommendations made by a structural engineer.

The fire marshal said his office conducts annual inspections of San Benito Foods and other commercial properties, but only for fire safety and not for structural integrity.

City officials have not said whether they have any plans to inspect other San Benito Foods buildings, or the walkway that extends over Sally Street from the building where the roof collapse occurred.

Here is a list of city permits for San Benito Foods-owned properties:

  • May 24, 2017, electrical work, $50,000
  • March 30, 2015, commercial remodel, install concrete pads for tanks, $20,000
  • May 14, 2014, commercial remodel, wall repair, $20,000
  • Nov. 4, 2013, commercial plumbing, $4,000
  • May 12, 2009, replace 17,000-gallon water tank, $14,000
  • March 29, 1990, new metal roof, 856 East St., $176,602
  • Feb. 2, 1985, replace floor, $5,000
  • June 15, 1984, install wall panels, $13,000
  • March 27, 1984, new offices, $212,770
  • Feb. 24, 1984, building conversion, $68,000
  • May 25, 1983, installation, $10,000

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