Blight Beat: Ypsilanti Township approves legal action against 11 property owners
The Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees at its Monday meeting unanimously approved staff taking legal action against 11 properties.
The township has one meeting during the summer months, so the township’s Office of Community Standards bring a large number of cases before the board at each meeting.
Among the most dire situations is at a home at 3150 Mott Road, where it was discovered that a family was living without running water.
Officials noted a “multitude of life-safety issues”, including a severe mold infestation, substandard electricity service and a failing roof system. Fulton said much of the drywall had fallen from the ceiling and walls because the roof is leaking so severely.
When the owner was asked about the home's condition, Fulton said she replied “I realize this is a fixer-upper.”
“She didn’t seem too concerned,” Fulton said, and added that the family wasn’t overly upset about the living situation, either.
“This is one of the most egregious examples of an occupied rental unit to date,” Fulton told the board.
Officials are asking the Washtenaw County Circuit Court for a demolition order on a home at 773 Lamay Ave., where a former tenant complained about a wide variety of plumbing, mechanical, electrical and fire safety concerns that were never repaired. The house was condemned and the owner hasn’t responded to the township’s requests to address the situation.
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
An owner also walked away from a home at 1091 Rambling Road, and the new mortgage holder has been unresponsive to the township’s requests to maintain the home.
Complaints from neighbors led officials to a home at 560 Elder St. where an owner built four 100- to 200-square-foot additions onto the home. Permits were never obtained for any of the work and two of the additions already were torn down because of shoddy construction work.
Fulton said the owner has admitted responsibility in district court to previous charges. The home’s structural integrity is compromised because of the poor work on the additions.
The township also is taking legal action against a man who Fulton said appears to be collecting construction equipment “for future use” but is amassing it in a residential zone. The owner of the house at 1334 Holmes Road indicated he would build a pull barn to store the equipment but now says he needs two larger pull barns. Officials are asking the court to order the property cleared.
Four of the properties involved local auto repair shops, including Dave’s Transmission, which AnnArbor.com previously reported on.
Officials also are seeking court help in shutting down a major automotive repair operation they say is run out of a residential garage at 52 Oregon St. Fulton said extension chords winding out of the house power the operation, and the owner is on probation for three blight citations in district court.
In response to one of the township’s requests to clear multiple autos from his property, the owner towed a car down the street to a church parking lot and left it there, Fulton said. He said the man was later ticketed for littering.
The owner’s house has also been raided by LAWNET twice in the past seven months for drug sales. After the last drug bust, OCS officials condemned the home, Fulton said.
Township officials are seeking court action if necessary against the owner of a auto repair shop at 1395 Ecorse Road, which is zoned to allow for only minor repairs such as oil or tire changes.
The OCS previously worked with the owner to bring the property into compliance with the zoning and closed that case on April 30. But township building inspectors found 20 vehicles on the lot in late June, and only five are allowed at a time. Fulton said major work like transmission and engine repair is being performed at the shop and officials aren’t sure why the owner immediately ignored the zoning laws after working with the township to bring the property into compliance.
Officials are having similar issues with the owner of Driver’s Drivleine at 896 N. Harris Road. The owner had secured a designation for a non-conforming use that would allow him to perform major auto work instead of minor work with the condition that site improvements to landscaping and the parking lot were made, Fulton said.
Those improvements were never made and the township’s planning commission revoked the designation. Officials are asking the court to order the property cleared of more than 20 cars and order the shop to discontinue major repairs.
Fulton said one of the bright spots has been the work of the owners of the Early Times Party Stores, who are making an apparent effort to correct numerous code violations.