You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Blight Beat: City of Ypsilanti seeks demolition of home abandoned 17 years ago

By Tom Perkins


818 Monroe Street

Tom Perkins | For

A long-abandoned home on Ypsilanti’s southside could soon be torn down.

City building officials are asking City Council to approve the demolition of a home at 818 Monroe Street, which has been abandoned since the mid-1990’s.

Among other issues, building inspectors have found that at the home there is a leaking and deteriorating roof which has let moisture inside. That has led to significant mold growth, caused drywall deterioration and compromised the structure’s interior.

Additionally, the chimney is detaching from the home and collapsing, and the exterior is in a severe state of disrepair.

The city is beginning to take aim at blighted homes through several measures, including a process designed to address structures that fit the definition of a dangerous building per city ordinance and state law.

Once a home is identified as dangerous, Ypsilanti Fire Chief Jon Ichesco sets a hearing with a city-appointed dangerous building officer. The officer then tries to address the situation either by working with the owner to have the building brought up to code or through demolition.

If the building’s owner fails to appear at the hearing or no consent agreement is reached, the issue goes to City Council, which can approve a building's demolition through a resolution. If there is resistance to that order from the property owner, the city can bring the issue before a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge.

City Council will consider the case at its Nov. 20 meeting.

The home is owned by brothers David and James Ragg who let the home fall to disrepair in the mid-1990’s before abandoning it altogether, Ichesco said.


818 Monroe Street

Tom Perkins | For

He said building officials have inspected the home on numerous occasions and cited the Raggs for a multitude of violations.

Ichesco said he has never had a conversation with the Ragg family, though they used to leave building inspectors messages spray painted on plywood or posted on paper in the house. Ichesco said the messages generally warned city officials to stay out of the home and included scripture.

“They don’t respond to us,” Ichesco said. “They once got the outside cleaned up, but they choose not to do anything with the house.”

He said he is unaware where the Ragg brothers live now, but the city sends its notices and citations to a post office box in Ypsilanti.

Bringing the house to the point of demolition has taken so long because the Raggs performed some work on it from time to time, Ichesco said. Ypsilanti ordinance allows property owners 18 months to make repairs after they are notified of code violations. If a resident makes even minor repairs, that 18 months resets. was unable to locate either of the owners.

Ichesco said the house fell into tax foreclosure but the Washtenaw County Treasurers' Office ended up giving it back to the Raggs due to hardship considerations.

“At a minimum, it's secured but it’s falling down and continues to fall down, and it needs to come down,” Ichesco said.

The house is one of three on Monroe Street and four on Ypsilanti’s south side city building officials contend are dangerous buildings and are attempting to have demolished or brought up to code.

If City Council approves the demolition, it could be torn down within 60 days of the hearing and a lien would be placed on the property.



Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

it's about time

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

What if its historic?


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:20 a.m.

Since it was built in 1935 I don't think it's old enough to qualify as historic.

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 4:51 a.m.

historically what? a mess?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

How sad. They should have sold it and/or just walked away. Which they did, but still a beautiful old home into disrepair. Wow. I really hate hearing what people do to their homes. Yes, Ypsi got another one. How this one fell thru the cracks? I'll never know.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

The address in the house captions is not the address of the house.

Tom Perkins

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Thanks for pointing that out. I changed the caption.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Unless it is one of the other houses mentioned in the article?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

The city website lists the 2012 taxes as $5903.47 and SEV as $27,500.00. If there was real interest in helping people with financial hardships a good start would be an accurate assessment which might put the tax payment within reach and leave some money for repairs. I've never been in this house but judging by the photo and description the SEV is extremely elevated.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

I'm just curious why these stories take precedence over more important news for the whole community. I can't imagine The old Ann Arbor News having "news" like this every other day, or ever for that matter. Better reporting on the numerous thefts, assaults and other crimes that I hear on the scanner would be more beneficial.

Ann English

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

Just months ago I stopped driving through this area; I had thought it was a nice area so close to I-94. I used to have a coworker who lived on Monroe Street, but back then I had no idea where Monroe Street in Ypsilanti is; I'm glad NOT to read that he was one of those who abandoned this house; a house he had lived in with his grandparents had burned back in the 1980s, but all three survived the fire. Rebuilt house, but not abandoned.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

O.K., then why don't they just make a list of addresses and a map so everyone can drive around and look at houses with deferred maintenance. Maybe put big signs on them so you now when you're coming up on one. Useless information for most of us. If you live near this one, why did you put up with it for so many years?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

I live in the neighborhood and what may be entertainment for you is relevant news to me. How could you possibly know where the people who visit this site live?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5 p.m.

This is just silly. When I come across an article that doesn't interest me I don't read it. I also don't complain that resources would be better used by producing something that *does* interest me. But I happen to be a fan of Blight Beat. I like to read about community improvement.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

But what percentage of the readership would be? It's become a form of entertainment to feature these derelict dwelling and have people comment on them and their neighborhoods. Maybe the folks who read the Ypsi paper would find it more relevant.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

The people in the neighborhood might be interested.

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

There has to be some reasonable time limit for this kind of thing. When it becomes evident that the owners are not going to comply after, say, 5 years. then, in consideration for property values nearby, safety, or just common sense, the building should be removed. When you think about it, it is of no value to the owners, they likely have paid no property taxes. tale it down. Seventeen years is way too long to put up with this.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Fire? What Fire?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

"...if any work is performed the 18 month clock resets...". Maybe it's time to change the regulation to something like "... 18 months to bring property into full compliance...". I'm not a certified city planner, but you folks have been taken for a ride. A 17 year ride while the neighborhood suffers.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

Government is NOT the solution to the problem, goverrnment IS the problem


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

The owner of this home did what his fortune cookie told him to do. Fortune ( Pack up all your belongings and don't look back until you reach Canada! )


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

Just why has this taken so long? The property is a danger!

Angry Moderate

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Wow, sounds like City Council has some work to do. Change the time limit to 6 months, and let it "reset" a maximum of 3 times before the building must be up to code.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

"Bringing the house to the point of demolition has taken so long because the Raggs performed some work on it from time to time, Ichesco said. Ypsilanti ordinance allows property owners 18 months to make repairs after they are notified of code violations. If a resident makes even minor repairs, that 18 months resets."


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

"Ichesco said the house fell into tax foreclosure but the Washtenaw County Treasurers' Office ended up giving it back to the Raggs due to hardship considerations." Now there's a statement that bears investigation. When did this happen and why?


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

It is one thing if someone is living in the house they are claiming "hardship" on but it totally a different story for someone who is "not" living in and will not keep it up to code or respond to notices from the city

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

i'll bing the dozer. sounds like a block party waiting to happen.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

sounds good, I'll bring the hot dogs which we can roast over the fire! maybe make s'mores. can anyone hook us up w/some live music?