Blight Beat: Church's vacant Monroe Street home has to go, Ypsilanti officials say
Ypsilanti building officials are asking the City Council to order a church-owned home demolished.
The home, at 910 Monroe St., has been abandoned since 2001, when it was purchased by Saint James Church of God-Christ, which occupies the lot to the west.
Ypsilanti Fire Chief Jon Ichesco said the church's leaders told him they wanted the home torn down so they could build a parking lot, but they never moved forward with the project.
The church also has not responded to the city’s notices to appear at a hearing or to the city's citations.
The home made the city’s dangerous building list because it’s infested with mold, its windows are missing, its entryways are missing and there are concerns over its structural integrity.
Ichesco said he doesn't believe church leaders will resist the demolition, but there has been no discussion about who will pay for the project.
“They haven’t shown up for any hearings, but I don’t expect resistance to them for us taking it down. How it’s paid for, that might be another thing,” Ichesco said.
Church officials did not return calls from AnnArbor.com.
The city is beginning to target blighted buildings through several measures, including a process that addresses structures that fit the definition of a dangerous building per state law and city ordinance.
Once a home is identified as dangerous, Ichesco sets a hearing with a city-appointed dangerous building officer who tries to work out a solution through demolition or repairs.
If the building’s owner fails to appear at the hearing or no if agreement is reached, the issue goes to the City Council, which can approve a building's demolition. If the property owner still doesn't agree with the order, the city can bring the issue before a Washtenaw County Trial Court judge.
If the City Council orders the Monroe Street home demolished, it could be torn down within 60 days of the hearing.
If the church fails to pay for the demolition, the city could put a lien on the property.
The house is one of three on Monroe Street and four on Ypsilanti’s south side that city building officials say are dangerous buildings and need to be demolished or brought up to code.
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.