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Posted on Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Blight beat: City of Ann Arbor to take action on 2 abandoned properties on city's east side

By Tom Perkins


An abandoned home on Pinecrest.

Tom Perkins | For

The city of Ann Arbor again is turning its attention to an abandoned home and a vacant lot on Pinecrest Avenue on the city’s east side.

Building officials expected to address the properties late last year but were delayed by legal concerns in its dangerous buildings program and by the demolition process of six vacant homes on Main Street on the city’s north side.

Ralph Welton, the planning and development department’s chief development official, said the city’s Building Board of Appeals is ready to start holding regular hearings on blighted properties citywide in March.

“We started working on these and other properties in the fall and some of it got sidetracked because of the Near North demos and also legal issues,” Welton said. “In order to make sure that everything we are doing was right we had to delay. Everything should be up and running in March.”

The two properties on Pinecrest will be among the first addressed, he said.

A home at 2365 Pinecrest Ave. has sat vacant since it was foreclosed on in 2006. LaSalle Bank now holds the mortgage and has mostly failed to maintain the property.

Among other issues at the house are a deteriorating roof that allows the elements to get inside the home. A tarp was placed over the roof, but the tarp has since shredded. Parts of the interior have been stripped, siding is falling off sections of the home and the soffits are deteriorating in spots. The backyard is strewn with debris and garbage.

The property has an assessed value of $66,000.

Another home at 2434 Pinecrest was demolished early last year after sitting vacant for nearly four years, but the property, which has a large cement slab on it, has sat untouched since then. Welton said the owners have not contacted the city.

Prior to the demolition, the property owner, Michael Coghlan, told he wanted to build a new home or sell the improved lot.

“We have been monitoring the properties but we have not heard from the owners at all,” Welton said.

The hearings are essentially show cause hearings in which property owners must explain to the board why a building shouldn’t be demolished or other legal action shouldn’t be taken. If a property owner fails to appear or the board rules against an owner, then notice to demolish the building within 20 days is given.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for



Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Are the taxes up to date on these properties?


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 5:53 a.m.

"A home at 2365 Pinecrest Ave. has sat vacant since it was foreclosed on in 2006. LaSalle Bank now holds the mortgage and has mostly failed to maintain the property." What I don't understand is how a run down house can continue to deteriorate for going on 7 years. Isn't anyone following up from the city? How long does the city give these deadbeats? LaSalle Bank is owned by Bank of America. My sense is that there is a lack of follow-up from the city and a lack of clear definitions about how long the city waits on these blighted properties. Are there clear guidelines? If so, then it's easy. If the owner fails to respond in x amount of time, then the house is torn down.


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 12:45 a.m.

LaSalle Bank was long ago purchased by Bank of America, well know for abandoning properties.

Joe Clark IV

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

Dealing with the city of Ann Arbor is a nightmare for property owners.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

Imagine what it is like dealing with the city of Detroit.

Tim Hornton

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

The best way to fight blight is to make sure poor foolish people don't come to the city.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 9:49 p.m.

I know many materially poor but well educated, responsible and decent people. If they have a house they keep it up. The foolish ones you mention seem to have great trouble in not trashing the landlord maintained dwellings they reside in before they go on to someplace else.

Basic Bob

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

You have a valid point. Moving to the city would have made me poor, but I was not fooled by the real estate hype. North Main looks like Appalachia on the Huron.

Dog Guy

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Every new millage proposal is pitched with "It will cost the average Ann Arbor homeowner only (insert number here) dollars per year." At long last we are presented with a photo of that average Ann Arbor home. Ann Arbor entropy, LXIX, is powered by confiscatory levels of property tax and water utilities fees.

michael Limmer

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 2:12 a.m.

Of course bankers and their predatory lending practices would have nothing to do with this. It must always be property taxes, which have declined by 20-30% and the WATER bill????


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Its called entropy. Very expensive. Creat a complex structure and nature immediately begins to tear it apart into a "blight:. Build a city infrastructure to support residents and that too will crumble with time. Every synthetic construction will eventually cost more just to maintain it against entropy. So now who really believes that the DDA plan for more development in Ann Arbor will add city income? There is a limit of wealth where the entire overpopuled Earth will have to spend all of its dwindling resources (energy) just to sustain their grand civilzation against such "blight. Tell the mayor that it is more progressive to conserve and build resources (energy production like solar farms) than to add more banker blight.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Thanks for staying on point. Wow.

laura wolf

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

more details are needed on why a vacant lot (with a slab of concrete) is a problem. an expanding definition of blighted is problematic.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

It would be right at home in the student ghetto.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Not going to get many votes on that from the ghetto deniers. You know, the ones who live in this town but never went to school here, so have no reason to find themselves driving around places like "off Packard" or "Hill & Oakland," for example.

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Except for the trash, this house doesn't look too bad. Especially compared to others in the city.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

Elaine... "Parts of the interior have been stripped, siding is falling off sections of the home and the soffits are deteriorating in spots. The backyard is strewn with debris and garbage." You can't tell a book by looking at its cover......

Fresh Start

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

Getting rid of blighted properties will improve the look, image and property values for the rest of the community. Plus it helps to retain jobs. Detroit, Flint are you listening?


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

"improving" property values would be affordable housing and affordable will decrees crime rates now.

Kyle Mattson

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

Hi Fresh Start- Here is a recent story about the Detroit Blight Authority's efforts to speed up blight removal in the city:


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

They've both been doing it for quite a few years now.

Jon Saalberg

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Detroit is demolishing abandoned homes. But there are so many, it will take years to raze them all.