Ypsilanti Township again taking on deteriorating Holmes Road trailer park
Ypsilanti Township officials are working to reverse a deteriorating situation at Greenbriar Mobile Home Park presenting many of the same issues seen at the former Ypsilanti Mobile Village.
Township Building Director Ron Fulton is meeting with the park’s owner and giving him an ultimatum - remove dozens of abandoned mobile homes or go back to court over the issues.
“It’s a very similar situation to the Ypsilanti Mobile Village,” Fulton told the Board of Trustees at its regular Jan. 22 meeting. “It just seems like things are continuing to deteriorate at an alarming rate.”
Per a February 2010 order by Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Archie Brown, Greenbriar owner Gerald Burton was to maintain all vacant units on the premises in a “safe, secure and sanitary condition.”
Fulton said around 25 of the 55 mobile homes at the park at 2500 Holmes Road are not safe or secure and are in a state of disrepair. Many have been stripped of scrap metal and are providing shelter for vagrants. Doors and windows are broken on units throughout the park, and some face issues ranging from collapsing porches to leaking roofs.
A large oak tree fell on one trailer in 2006, and that unit still sits in the same state it was in after the tree was removed. Several units were recently removed but returned when Burton failed to pay the company that hauled them away, Fulton said.
Burton also had several derelict trailers put up on wheels in preparation to be hauled away, but they have sat for months without moving. He couldn’t be reached by AnnArbor.com for comment.
Several residents in the park have maintained their properties, but many of the units are in such poor condition that Fulton said officials are having trouble determining whether anyone is living in them.
Per the 2010 order, Burton is to pull proper work permits, but officials are aware of work being performed without them. Officials must inspect each trailer and issue a certificate of occupancy before anyone can move in.
While there haven’t been any reports of serious crimes in Greenbriar, Fulton said reports of vagrants residing in the vacant units are alarming. That issue was part of what accelerated the decline of Ypsilanti Mobile Village and led to it becoming a "haven” for drug dealers and prostitutes.
In one case, a woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in one of that park’s vacant mobile homes.
When vagrants have been chased out of Greenbriar, they have simply gone across the street to a vacant “flop house.” A Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department deputy and building inspector walked through the home on Jan. 23 and found mattresses and ample evidence that people were regularly staying there.
Fulton said the owner of that home lives in Florida and originally had it on the market for $600,000 after it was abandoned in 2008. He said the township will contact the owner to deal with the house.
“It’s very disheartening and very tragic to see these (mobile home parks) deteriorated,” Township Attorney Doug Winters said. “We want people to invest and live there, but these are unacceptable. They are going to call upon our resources way too greatly.”
Trustee Stand Eldridge questioned why the township is delaying further court action if they already have a two-year-old court order. He also asked why staff is only now getting around to dealing with the park.
“With limited staffing, we’re doing as much as we're able to do,” Fulton said. “When we find immediate issues we get them addressed, but clearly it’s now deteriorating and it’s time to get this done.”
Fulton said Burton has had his license to operate two other parks stripped by the state and was exposed by Fox 2 for failing to make water payments at a building he owned in Detroit. The water was to be shut off because he owed $159,000, and he was suspected of trying to rig the water meter.