Goshen to demolish 2 uninhabitable houses

Ron Davidhizar, left, speaks to Goshen city attorney Larry Barkes, Board of Works member Mike Landis and Mayor Jeremy Stutsman on Monday.

GOSHEN — The Goshen Board of Works ordered that two rental properties be torn down despite the owner's claim that one of them would be inhabitable in four weeks.

The board ordered the demolition of 216 S. 27th St. and 414 River Ave., which are two of the many residences throughout the city owned by Ron Davidhizar. Both properties were the subject of a compliance hearing on June 17, when the board ordered that he present a plan to fix them within 60 days or face the bulldozer.

Both properties were declared uninhabitable after a number of city code violations were found. Those include a fire hazard from unsafe electrical wires, loose or missing light fixtures and broken windows at both houses.

Davidhizar agreed with the demolition of the 27th Street house. But he told the board that he's been working on the River Avenue house and had either addressed or planned to address the nine violations that were found.

Unlike in the past, he said he has a team working for him now to make repairs. He asked for another 30-day extension, saying the house will be inhabitable by then.

"Let's revisit this in two weeks and see what has developed," he said. "I think you'll be pleased."

But Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said Davidhizar has owned 414 River Ave. since 1977 and it's been a troubled property for years.

"What's four weeks going to do?" Stutsman asked.

He expressed frustration, along with board member Mike Landis and code enforcement Officer Travis Eash, with what they described as Davidhizar's habit of waiting till the last minute to make city-ordered repairs. They also observed that he didn't present a plan, as required.

Stutsman made the motion to move ahead with the demolition, saying he wasn't comfortable doing anything other than what they set out to do two months ago.

"The neighbors deserve better," he said.

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