GOSHEN — The city of Goshen wants a judge to appoint someone to take control of three homes that have been declared unsafe for habitation after the property owner repeatedly violated city code.
The Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety voted Monday, April 21, to declare three houses owned by Ronald Davidhizar “unsafe” and advised city attorney Larry Barkes to file paperwork to have a judge appoint someone to clean up the properties.
Steve Bice, the city’s residential building inspector, told the board that a vacant home at 207 Middlebury St. “doesn’t seem to have been touched” since the board ordered Davidhizar to make improvements to it and the house next door at 205 Middlebury St. in August 2012. Davidhizar had until November 30, 2013, to correct 11 violations, but inspections by the Goshen Building Department showed few improvements on Dec. 17, 2013, and Jan. 15.
Davidhizar told the board that raccoons had torn through the roof at 207 Middlebury St., causing water to leak into the house. The animals had damaged the inside of the home as well, he said. Bice noted that feces has piled up almost a foot deep in part of of the house, and the smell is wafting next door.
Davidhizar said he has owned the property at 207 Middlebury St. for about 30 years, and it has been vacant for about a decade.
Bice said the house at 205 Middlebury St. has peeling paint, and a ceiling on the back porch has a two-inch piece of Styrofoam exposed that must be covered before the house is rented to a tenant. The front porch has rotted boards and cracking paint, he added. He also noted that floorboards in the living room are buckling under the carpet from water damage.
Bice said a third home at 632 S. Seventh St. was “15 to 20 percent” in compliance. The city had ordered Davidhizar in August 2012 to clean up the property. He had until the end of June 2013 to finish the work, but as of Monday’s meeting, the home was still in disrepair.
“He started some work on the inside,” Bice said. “Temporary repairs is what he calls them.”
Davidhizar was asked to paint the trim of exterior windows and doors and repair and paint ceilings and walls in the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, dining room, foyer and upstairs landing. Bice was not satisfied with repairs to the chimney and foundation and said the plumbing in the basement was damaged.
Davidhizar said the home on South Seventh Street has been vacant since he bought it about 10 years ago.
Another house owned by Davidhizar at 211 Queen St. was found in compliance with city code. Davidhizar has been asked to fix the home’s concrete steps and the southwest corner of the house, which was caving in.
Mayor Allan Kauffman said Davidhizar had agreed to fix 10 homes per year and questioned why it has taken so long for improvements to be made.
“I think the number of houses that I agreed to do was overly optimistic, but I thought that we could do it,” Davidhizar said. “Now one of the reasons why it was totally optimistic is that I thought I was going to buzz right through it. Well, health conditions prevented that, so we weren’t able to move as fast as I would ordinarily been able to do.”
- The board awarded a $63,039 contract to MC Equipment Inc. doing business as W.A. Jones Truck Bodies and Equipment for dump truck bodies. The equipment will be delivered by Oct. 1.
- Brian Brown was promoted to the rank of EMS lieutenant for the Goshen Fire Department. Brown passed all required tests and standards for promotion to his new rank.
- The board approved a date for the annual Memorial Day parade. The parade will be May 26 starting on Jefferson Street at the police department, heading toward Main Street to Pike Street to North First Street and ending at Oakridge Cemetery.
- The board approved a roughly $206 sewer bill credit for 1910 Beckner St. because of a ruptured water line.
- The board granted a request from LaCasa Inc. and DJ Construction to close Madison Street between the alley and the Millrace canal during construction of the Hawks Arts and Enterprise Center from Monday, April 21, to April 1, 2015. The closure of the road will provide space for parking during construction. The alley east of the building between Madison and Jefferson streets will also be closed daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the next six weeks while the exterior masonry of the building is restored.
- The board signed a contract for $3,700 with Dixon Engineering Inc. to provide water storage tank inspections for the tanks at 2502 Clinton St. and 2109 Caragana Court. Work is expected to wrap up by July 31.
- The Goshen Engineering Department will close Logan Street beginning Tuesday, April 22, for work near the approach to Monroe Street for a bike path project. The road will reopen about three weeks later.
- The board signed a purchase agreement to sell six acres along the Millrace between Purl and Douglas streets to Millrace Neighborhood LLC, which plans to build up to 15 homes.
- The board agreed that apartment B at 613 N. Main St. is in compliance with city code. The home was a meth cleanup site.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.