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Posted on Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Blight Beat: Ann Arbor officials target Dexter Road home for demolition

By Tom Perkins


Officials are moving forward with plans to demolish the home at 3010 Dexter Road in Ann Arbor.

Tom Perkins | For

Ann Arbor building officials are pushing for the demolition of a long-abandoned and deteriorating Dexter Road home.

The homeowner failed to appear at a show cause hearing to make a case against demolition in front of the city's Building Board of Appeals, and the planning and development department is moving forward with plans to demolish the home.

The owner of the property at 3010 Dexter Road, Barbara Wallis, currently has a Palo Alto, Calif., address and failed to respond to any of the city’s letters regarding the property.

Officials believe the home has been abandoned since at least January 2006 when the planning and development department first received a complaint about it.


An interior view of the home at 1030 Dexter Road.

Tom Perkins | For

Two occupied homes sit approximately 15 feet from the deteriorating structure on either side.

Among issues are deteriorating walls, a generally deteriorating envelope, missing window sills, a partially collapsed roof, missing window panes and two-by-four studs exposed inside. Overall, the house is in “extreme disrepair”, according to planning and development department documents.

Although the front door is sealed, the side windows are easy to open and it appears as if the owner left most of her belongings in the home. A tree either fell inside the home or was dragged in.

City officials also have received reports of people living in the house. A flimsy storage area is attached to the back of the home and debris litters the overgrowth in the backyard.

Also in the backyard is a pickup truck with its bed missing and an old, small tractor.


Tom Perkins | For

City documents show building officials performed 13 followup inspections since the initial 2006 complaint. The property was posted uninhabitable on August 25, 2011, and a notice of violation was sent to Wallis several months later. She was ordered to repair or demolish the home by April 30, 2012, but failed to respond.

Ralph Welton, the planning and development department’s chief development official, said building officials haven’t been inside the home yet.

“There is enough to see from the outside to know that this one is a goner,” he said.

Welton said the city’s legal department is working on the case and he expects demolition to move forward soon. If Wallis continues to disregard the city’s correspondence, then the city will hire a contractor to tear down the home and place a lien on the property.

If Wallis disputes the city's order to demolish the structure, then the matter will be taken up in Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for


Ann English

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

One comment poster told us about this property last Friday, saying he has never known of anyone living there. Fixing it up was mentioned. Three days later, POW! It's the subject of a news article, not to be fixed up, but demolished. So I was right about occupied homes being uncomfortably close to it. I don't go on that part of Dexter Road very often, but thought the house looked familiar.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

I hope that the owner is charged for the cost of the demolition.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Six years is a long time to ignore a situation. After they tear it down can she build a spec house and sell it on the property?

greg, too

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 5:03 a.m.

wait wait wait.... There are home that are blighted outside of Ypsi and the townships? Impossible.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

I gotta wonder why my comment got pulled. Somebody tosses a chunk of garbage like this up and the rebuttal gets pulled? This is getting old.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Gotta love people like this. Yes, Greg, Ann Arbor does have blight. They are finally taking initiative like Ypsilanti and Detroit are.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

The owner lives in Palo Alto. There ought to be a way to hold people accountable for their properties, even across state lines. If nothing else, I hope that every time someone googles her, this story about her being a deadbeat property owner comes up.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

She could very well be elderly or ill and, consequently, out of touch.

Dog Guy

Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

Will the tax assessment increase when this house is demolished?


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

Usually not. Most times it increases the property value once the home has been removed and cleaned up. Most times they go after the owners and/or banks for this money. Ypsilanti Township is finally in its final stages of getting rid of alot of blight. Although the banks are dragging their tails on that Rawsonville blight.


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

I'd like to see the process for dealing with these dilapidated properties accelerated so it never reaches this point. When property owners are not paying taxes, not living there, ignoring their properties and letting them become dangerous, AND not responding to complaints/requests by the city, they lose the property. It shouldn't take years and years for this process to play out.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 6:07 a.m.

that no longer realist in today ecom.

laura wolf

Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

if you check the city web site you will see that taxes are paid and current. people make a lot of assumptions about these run down propertys that a little more reporting could make clearer. it is too bad it had to go so far into disrepair that it has to be torn down, instead of being sold to someone who could repair it. be careful what you wish for in giving the city greater power to step in to fix problems.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Sad how a home with all of its memories can fall into disrepair... even in A2. Now, what about that stretch of road called Main street? What about these blighted buildings?


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 6:06 a.m.

it shows a2 isn't that special and just an average Michigan city , problems, poverty, urban decay, crime = really what if we are better then Detroit and flint?

Angry Moderate

Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

I believe they are already planning the demolition of 5-10 houses near North Main and Summit.


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Good news! Can't wait to see this dump bulldozed.


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

THANK YOU!!!! That thing has been an nuisance property for a while now. It sits so far back most people don't notice it driving by...but I promise you the neighbors of that property notice it...every single day.


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

1030 orf 3010?


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

Hodesh from Home and Garden could not be reached yet today to find out his thoughts on this demolition.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

I don't get it. Please explain.