Saturday, February 6, 2016

This house at 1403 S. Main St., Goshen, is one of many properties owned by Ron Davidhizar that need significant improvements, according to city officials. (Dan Spalding/The Elkhart Truth)
Goshen board pressuring Davidhizar over vacant properties
Posted on Feb. 5, 2014 at 4:57 p.m.

GOSHEN — The city of Goshen is seeking court fines against landlord Ron Davidhizar over his failure to meet deadlines on repairs to two of his properties.

City officials have an agreement with Davidhizar to upgrade several dozen properties with specific deadlines.

In 2011, the city targeted about 45 properties owned by Davidhizar that had been vacant for two or more years and reached agreement with him on a series of deadlines to help ensure repairs are made, said city attorney Larry Barkes.

Barkes said Davidhizar had met most if not all of the deadlines in 2012, but had less success in 2013.

Davidhizar appeared before the city’s board of public works a week ago to explain why repairs had not been made to the home at 1403 S. Main St., and another at 205-207 Middlebury St.

Mayor Allan Kauffman expressed frustration at the meeting over Davidhizar’s inability to finish the work.

Davidhizar told officials that repairs at the house were delayed for the sake of repairs at another property and because of cold weather.

He said Tuesday that health issues and unexpected complications with some of the projects had slowed down the pace of repairs last year.

Kauffman told him he should consider hiring more workers to do the repairs, according to a report by The Goshen News.

Davidhizar said he has been contemplating hiring several people to help with projects, but is having trouble finding quality help.

Davidhizar said he now thinks the deadlines for recent properties were a "little bit overly optimistic."

The property on South Main, among other things, is missing much of the kitchen components and parts of a furnace had also been removed. The building also has some broken windows and needs painting, according to the city.

Davidhizar said he wanted to do a more thorough updating of the kitchen, but in order to speed up the project, he’ll cut back on some of the plans.

“I guess we’ll do a quick job and then re-do it later,” he said. “In order to pacify the city of Goshen, we’re simply putting the wall-hung sink back up,” he said.

Barkes said the city plans to seek a ruling in court that Davidhizar is in noncompliance. The city could seek fines and − in some cases − seek to have repairs performed by another party if the house is ruled to be unsafe.

Davidhizar notes that more money spent in court would affect his ability to make more repairs.

“I would much rather work with the city than have to fight the city,” Davidhizar said. “I’d much rather spend my money fixing up houses rather than on court costs and attorneys fees. That’s up to the city. Do they want to assess me large fines? If they do, it will just take that much longer.”

Barkes said the city and Davidhizar have an agreement on eight or nine other properties that are scheduled for action in 2014.

In the opinion of city officials, Barkes said, all of the houses targeted for improvements in 2014 are viewed as unsafe and all but two should be demolished, Barkes said.

Davidhizar said he thinks he has a better grasp of what houses can be salvaged compared to those of city officials.