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Posted on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Official: Concrete company illegally dumping on private property

By Tom Perkins


Chunks of old concrete are piled on a 1.5 acre illegal dump for an Ypsilanti concrete company.

Tom Perkins | For

A concrete company is using a New York City-based holding company’s property as an illegal dump, Ypsilanti Township officials say.

Township staff recently discovered the site cleared in a heavily wooded lot off South Congress Street.

At its Feb. 11 meeting, the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees authorized township staff and attorneys to take legal action against Hearns Concrete for using the private property as a dumping ground for broken concrete, vehicles, construction equipment, construction materials, an old pool and other general debris.

The site is of particular concern because it lies near the Miller Drain and officials estimate it has been there for at least 10 years. At some points, where the debris gets near the drain, it is piled as high as four feet deep.

“This is going to be a major cleanup operation,” said Mike Radzik, director of the office of community standards. “It’s essentially a landfill.”

An employee at Hearns, 212 N. Lincoln St. in Ypsilanti, declined to comment.

The township also plans to contact the 17.5-acre parcel’s owner, Lincorp Holdings, which has left it heavily wooded and undeveloped for the 30 years it has owned it.


Discarded vehicles on the property

Tom Perkins | For

An approximately 350-foot driveway leads to the 1.5 acre clearing, which is just east of Hewitt Road on the south side of Congress. The driveway is attached to the driveway of a home on the neighboring lot, Radzik said.

Township officials also found the remains of an underground pool that was broken up and pulled from the ground at the former Eastern Highlands apartment complex several weeks ago. The complex used to be owned by jailed landlord David Kircher and is undergoing a major renovation.

Radzik said officials noticed the blue pool liner at the site and a company employee confirmed it was the Eastern Highlands' pool.

“We put them on notice that there would be legal documents coming their way soon,” Radzik said.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for



Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 7:40 a.m.

I Smell Big Attorney Fees that Ypsi Twp will pay to their aty. He will be licking his chops and drooling over this lawsuit . . .


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

I have property immediately bordering this area; should I be worried?

Local Yocal

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 1:40 a.m.

Might want to check that property occasionally.

Fresh Start

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Yes get armed and stay indoors!

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:53 p.m.

Yes VERY worried

martini man

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

Since this dumping ground has been used for an extended period of time , it seems strange that no one ever complained about it . Or did they ?? There is way too much concrete, not to mention abandoned trucks and machinery, not to have been noticed . Where were the enviro activists when they were actually needed ??


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

Everyone dumps on Ypsilanti verbally. This is something concrete!


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

So is this concrete evidence? haha


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Punish them as severely as the law allows, illegal dumping is NOT OK!

Frank Lee

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Worse yet, one of the few concrete recycling facilities in the area is located roughly a mile away at 3670 Carpenter Rd Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Mr. Ed

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

It's just a rock garden.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

It's sad to see nature treated this way. Maybe they need to do a little more aerial surveillance to find things like this.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

They do have an Assessing Department. I'm sure they are busy, and I'm not suggesting that they overlay the entire plat map onto the aerial photos that can be obtained from Google Maps and similar services - but just taking a look at the aerial photos once a year or so, for maybe 30 minutes, could reveal an unexpected 1.5 acre clearing in the middle of a previously undeveloped forest. There's no guarantee that something like this would be found - but it's nice to think that someone is paying attention - especially when that "someone" is working in an office where they would presumably be aware of any major development projects and their approximate locations.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

Yeah, I heard Ypsilanti Township is bursting at the seams with extra money.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Oh man - they're dumping rocks and stone in the middle of nowhere?


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

I hope you don't think this is acceptable on your property.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

And all those discarded vehicles are hardly just rocks and stone.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Its a bit of a stretch to call the southeast corner of Hewitt and South Congress "the middle of nowhere"

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Disposing of waste is very expensive. I hope the civil and criminal dumping penalties are many times greater than the cost of legitimate disposal and the cost of cleanup. Unfortunately the law, and the enforcement, is often weak in these cases.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

Can somebody please explain what was inappropriate or offensive about saying that this company/owner likely have no money to pay heavy fines???

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

At least concrete is relatively benign compared to some of the other stuff. Hopefully the clean up will go in descending order of danger to ground water.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

In Oz oh I mean Ann Arbor this would be called art & cost over 1 million dollars


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

In Oz they probably couldn't find 17.5 acres of unused land.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

The article says that Hearns has been using this property as a dump for "at least ten years." The statutory period for adverse possession in Michigan is fifteen years - so if "at least ten" turns out to be fifteen (or more), Hearns might actually be able to claim ownership of the land - although at this point they may not want to.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

@YpsiLivin: Agreed.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Eep, No problem. A search of the county land records show that the house adjacent to the dump is owned by a person named Hearns. That home was purchased in 2004, which would be 9-ish years ago. I don't think it's likely that the dumping began before that purchase, cuz' after all, who wants to live next to a dump? (Would explain why the neighbors didn't complain, though.) Given the 2004 adjacent parcel purchase, I don't think he'd meet the "15 years" criteria for adverse possession anyway, so the rest of the tests don't really matter.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

@YpsiLivin: OK, I've looked into this a little bit further, and while I still think I'm correct regarding the distinction between claiming part of the parcel vs claiming the entire parcel, I admit that I've characterized "item 7" on your list incorrectly. "Under cover of a claim of right" is, as you've stated, a necessary element for all adverse possession claims in Michigan. However, I think that Hearns would probably be able to establish this element. All that "under cover of a claim of right" means is that "one enters and occupies land, with the intent to hold it as his own, against the world irrespective of any shadow or color or right or title." I have been confusing "claim of right" and "color of title" in my comments, and I apologize for the error.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

@YpsiLivin: He doesn't need to meet all nine tests in order to prevail. He only needs to meet the seventh test that you listed if he is claiming ownership of the entire parcel. There is a distinction between claiming adverse possession of an entire parcel of land and claiming adverse possession of a portion of a parcel of land that you are actually using. The Michigan Supreme Court made this very clear in a case called Rozmarek v. Plamondon. Title by adverse possession, in the absence of color of title, can extend no farther than the boundaries of that land which is actually used and occupied for the statutory period by those claiming title by adverse possession. They can acquire nothing beyond that which is actually possessed, used, controlled and occupied by them for the statutory period.' Bankers Trust Co v Robinson, 280 Mich 458, 463; 273 NW 768 (1937). (As quoted in Rozmarek v. Plamondon, 419 Mich 287 (1984)).


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Eep, Item 7 is inherently relevant because he would have to meet *all nine* tests to prevail. The other problem he might have is that using the land isn't necessarily the same thing as occupying it. Adverse possession most often applies to residential claims and clearly, no one resided there.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

@YpsiLivin - you're right about #9, which is why I said that "at this point they may not want to." I don't agree with you about 2, 3, and 4 - the fact that the dump wasn't visible from the street would certainly be something to consider, but the dump would still be visible to anyone who actually inspected the land, and the fact that a new driveway was apparently created was visible from the street. Item #7 is only relevant if Hearns claims ownership of the entire 17.5 acre parcel - they could claim ownership of the portion they were actually using - the 1.5 acre dump site - without a claim of right.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

State law sets a relatively high bar to claim adverse possession successfully. I don't think Hearns' actions here would qualify under the conditions in the law, and the law operates presumptively in favor of the owner of record. To establish a successful adverse possession claim, Hearns would have to prove that his "possession" of the land was: (1) actual (2) visible (3) open (4) notorious (5) exclusive (6) hostile (7) under cover of a claim of right (8) continuous, and (9) uninterrupted for the statutory period of 15 years To satisfy #9, minimally I think he would have to claim/prove that he was dumping illegally for 15 years, which opens up another issue I'm pretty sure he won't want to get into. Given that the dumping was effectively hidden, and went unnoticed from the street for at least 10 years, the titled owner could argue that Hearns' use of the land was not open, visible or notorious (failing tests 2, 3 and 4) and unless Hearns openly claimed a right to use the land, I don't think he would meet the standard for #7 either. Generally, when you're doing something illegal, you're not going to get props from the court for it.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

It would be nice to know whether the township's legal actions will result in immediate suspension of the contractor's license until the matter is resolved. According to the state's online record for this contractor, his license was suspended once in the mid-1980's as a disciplinary measure. Unfortunately, the details of that suspension are available only through a FOIA request.

Bob W

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

This has gone unnoticed for 10 years?!?!


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 2:55 a.m.

I live two streets over from this and I can see directly across congress from my house. I literally stare directly at the area every night when im sitting in my living room watching tv. I have never know it was ther until I read this article. its so heavily wooded that you cant see more than a foot or two into the area. Seeing that Ive been staring directly at it for ten years im not surprised it hasnt been found until now. Hopefully, it gets cleaned up but apprently I wouldnt know the difference either way. LOL


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

I would not be surprised if Ypislanti was paying someone to be a "vacant land inspector"


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Wait... People think that, in this day and age, ANY municipality has the money to pay employees to look at aerial photograpsh, look for pilkes of crap (which nobody has complained about), compare the location of the crap piles with land ownership platts, determine whether the land owners also own the crap, then go after who is dumping the crap?


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

@GoNavy, Just to be clear, I'm not trying to excuse the Township here. With easily accessible aerial images, someone should be looking for things like this. I'm just saying that graft and/or complaint inspectors aren't the most likely reasons that this went undiscovered for so long. It's more likely that the Township just didn't have staff assigned to look - whether the underlying reason is a lack of funding, lack of staffing, or incompetence is anyone's guess at this point.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

@GoNavy - Yes, they have people charged with the responsiblity for ordinance enforcement, but they aren't doing any kind of scheduled inspections. I would imagine they only respond when either 1) someone complains about a violation, or 2) the violation is obvious, ie. it can be heard or seen from a public place. Why would the ordinance enforcement people go walking through the woods to look at the center of a 17.5 acre parcel of privately owned, presumably vacant land?


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

@Eep - So it wouldn't be Ypsilanti's Division of Ordinance Enforcement? Are you saying that in Ypsilanti, if the land is vacant, nobody is paying any attention to it?


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Somehow I doubt that Ypsi Township employs a Vacant Land Inspector.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Perhaps the graft money ran out, or the formerly compliant inspector was replaced by a less compliant one.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

You can zoom in on google maps or google earth and see it.Pretty darn obvious.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

That's horrible. You can plainly see the guy has a trampoline in his back yard. Doesn't he know those things are dangerous?


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

For what it's worth, those aren't chunks of cement, they're chunks of concrete. Cement is a component of concrete.

Tom Perkins

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

Thanks for pointing that out, Obee.

Tom Teague

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

Despite the vote downs, Obee is right and the usage is wrong. In fact, the difference used to be covered in the AP Stylebook. My father, who worked in concrete labs on two large TVA dams, used to rail about the Beverly Hillbillies saying "cement pond."