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Posted on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township again taking on deteriorating Holmes Road trailer park

By Tom Perkins

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 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.


Ben Petiprin

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

"While there haven't been any reports of serious crimes in Greenbriar, Fulton said reports of vagrants residing in the vacant units are alarming." So, really, the only issue is that this place isn't the nicest and it offends some people's noble eyeballs. I'm not saying anyone should care, just have the basic human compassion to let other people live as they want to. Ypsi is headed in a weird direction: grass height limitations enforced, people evicted for not living up to the standards of "Better Homes and Garden" magazine. And everyone on every forum is ra-ra-ra about it. "Get this other one too, displace these human beings so I don't have to look at their homes," etc. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

It's a shame that the owner couldn't have maintained some of those units and rented them out cheaply....seems like it would have made him more money than letting the deteriorate...


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Why doesn't the township have the people who are maintaining their units, start to deposit their rent in an escrow account until the owner does what he is required to do? No money should get his attention!!!!!!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

what ever happen to Rileys ct.why are,nt they taking that out.where all the drugs are???????????

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

quick somebody jump on that $600,000 trailer.DEAL OF A LIFETIME.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

The decay is is pretty apparent. Seriously, though, why not recycle these and take ownership of the property and add it to the greenbelt? Seems like the greenbelt should not just include Farms, but also abandoned land.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

I like the way you think, Little Old Lady! We've got to stick together!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

I am glad you mentioned this. I just read an article were Detroit is now becoming a greenbelt. Why? They are tearing out homes that are no longer livable. With a lot of homes now gone, the ground is becoming useful again for something else. According to the article most residents are using that empty lot to grow food. And the article did state Detroit was the greenest city in the US. Good point.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

I feel really sorry for those residents who've maintained their property. They have to live in a place where the owner doesn't do as he's been ordered and no one is stepping in to solve the problem. Surely there is room for the Township to just come in and move out the offending trailers.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

If you read the story of the first set of mobile homes that were removed, a lot of those residents tried to make a go of it but knew it was useless. Especially since all they had was water and electricity. Not much else. That area was bad. Glad to see Round 1 gone. Now on to Round 2.

Dog Guy

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

As a buffer against urbanization, is this park part of Ann Arbor's greenbelt?


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

The purple trailer painted exactly the same color as the (no longer there?!?) Velvet Touch is a hoot. There has to be a back story.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

I'm pretty sure that that picture is Velvet Touch being demolished...

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Hoot of the day: "Buy Photo Prints" posted under the photo gallery. Lol.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

I thought the same lol


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

All those mobile home parks on Holmes rd look the same.They all look like they need to be torn down.The one on Ford Blvd looks just as bad also why not tear that one down to.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

I was wondering the same thing. A lot of these mobile homes look like the ones on Ford near the Anderson Apts. That is a mess too. Hope they go after that one as well.

Chase Ingersoll

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

On site recycling process is what is need. Strip, dismantle, cut and sort right on the premises is the efficient way to get rid of these. Hauling an oversized box down the road is expensive and dangerous. Chase ingersoll

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

Is the building in photo one even part of the trailer park cited in the store? If not, why is is posted and unlabeled? Just because it was in the neighborhood? Didn't that building default to Ypsilanti Township because of back taxes? If so, why hasn't the township torn the building down?

Tony Dearing

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

The building in the first slide is the former Velvet Touch. Tom took the photos for this story last Wednesday, which is the day the building was in the process of being of being demolished. The photo should have included a caption explaining that since the building's recent demolition, the township is concerned that the mobile home park is now even more visible from the road, because the building no longer partially blocks the view of it.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

....and it is no longer there? Must have taken this picture through the windshield of the Delorean.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

So a building not a part of the story is included for what reason again other than dishonest journalism?


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

The purple building was the Velvet Touch, it's now been demolished. It sat in front of Greenbriar MHP near East Michigan Avenue.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.

Is the first picture one of the old Velvet Touch on Michigan Ave near the East side Coleman's? If yes, it's definitely not part of the park in question.