GOSHEN — A regular Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety meeting took an unconventional turn Monday, April 28, when the mayor suggested taking a field trip to a dilapidated home that board members ultimately decided to demolish.
Mayor Allan Kauffman wanted to see for himself whether repairs were being made to a home at 1105 ½ S. 11th St. after the owner was cited in November for violating the city’s Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance.
Property owner Ronald Davidhizar had until the end of March to correct a list of six problems found at the home including fire hazards created by electrical wires and light fixtures, rotted siding and broken windows and doors.
But Steve Bice, the city’s residential building inspector, told the board that the house was only “25 percent in compliance.” He noted, however, that there were people working on the home when he visited Monday morning.
Kauffman asked the board members and staff to relocate Monday’s meeting to Davidhizar’s property on 11th Street so they could see the house’s condition firsthand.
In a notice to the board, Goshen Community Development director Mark Brinson recommended demolition of the house because Davidhizar “made no effort to comply with the board of works order of November 26, 2013,” to make repairs.
“That is an opinion,” Davidhizar said. “It doesn’t happen to be fact.”
Davidhizar said a crew has been working on the house off and on for the past two months. No one is living in the home, but Davidhizar said he had plans to rent the house once all of the repairs had been made.
Davidhizar has been in front of the board several times because of property violations. He said Monday that he disagrees with the citations issued by the city for the 11th Street home.
“This house is not the house that you’re describing,” he told Kauffman. “We don’t have wood siding. We don’t have sliding doors. We don’t have dangling light fixtures or wires. We don’t have wood soffit that needs to be painted.”
After touring Davidhizar’s property, the board voted to tear down the home within 30 days. Davidhizar, however, said he plans to appeal the board’s decision in court.
“It makes the city spend more money, and it makes me spend more money,” Davidhizar said. “It accomplishes nothing.”
The board held another public hearing Monday for a second property owned by Davidhizar. Joe Vargas, the city’s property maintenance inspector, said he visited 702 and 702 ½ N. Sixth St. Monday morning for an inspection. Davidhizar had been cited for violating city code in February 2013 and given 30 days to repaint the overhang and exterior window trim and make repairs to damaged siding.
The property was inspected two more times, but no improvements had been made, according to Vargas. Davidhizar told the city in November he was preparing to to start painting. The property was inspected two more times in December, and no repairs had been made, according to a report to the board.
Davidhizar noted Monday that property does not have siding. It has shingles, he said. He told the board that the remaining repairs will probably not be done by the newest deadline on Wednesday, April 30, because of rain in the forecast. The board decided to give Davidhizar until May 10 to paint the trim and overhang.
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- The board granted approval to Goshen Fire chief Dan Sink to hire Andrew Priem as a probationary firefighter. The board also approved the promotion of Patrick Martin to private first class for the fire department. Both staff changes are effective Tuesday, April 29.
- The first eight parallel parking spots on Washington Street east of Fifth Street will be blocked off from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 2 to allow vendors to unload and load equipment for the First Fridays Taste of Goshen event.
- The city issued an electrical license to Michael G. Robinson of Heartland Solutions Corp., 10277 Lease Corner Court in Camby.
- The board entered into an agreement for $3,861 with OJS Building Services to replace a defective air conditioner in the city’s basement computer server room at 111 E. Jefferson St.
- Walsh and Kelly will close the intersection of Wilkinson and New street for about five days beginning Monday, May 5, to make a sanitary sewer connection into the existing system. A representative from the Goshen Engineering Department will make arrangements with the post office and give notice about the closure to residents along New Street between U.S. 33 and Wilkinson Street.
- The board approved the release of a three-year maintenance bond posted by S&L Builders for water, storm, concrete and road in the amount of $43,724 for the road reconstruction project at Chicago and Indiana avenues.
- The Goshen Street Department is taking reservations for its Dial-a-Truck program that helps residents get rid of large amounts of household waste for $75. The first truck will be available May 12. Items allowed in the truck are regulated by the Elkhart County landfill restrictions. Call the street department at (574) 534-9711 for more information.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.