Demolition Reissued For East Main Street House

An order to demolish a home on East Main Street in Warsaw was vacated, but then a new order to demolish it was made by Hearing Officer Tom Earhart Tuesday.

The property at 1015 E. Main St., Warsaw, is owned by Jason and Bobby Wade. Bobby was present Tuesday for the hearing, but Jason was not. Earhart first ordered the home demolished at the Dec. 10 hearing.

In October, the building code violation hearing for the Wade property was rescheduled to Dec. 10. The Wades were not present at the October or December hearings. The home also was previously discussed at the September hearing.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Bobby told Earhart that she was now living on Park Avenue and no one was living at the Main Street home.

Earhart asked her if she and the city have done anything to correct any of the issues at the property. She said no and that she was waiting for her divorce to be final so she could sell the house. Bobby said she talked to a couple of investors who were interested in the house, but no paperwork has been signed on it because the divorce isn’t final. She said she wanted to get as much as she could out of the Main Street house so she could buy another home for her and her daughter.

In November, Earhart said the health department and representatives of the city of Warsaw went into the house and inspected it. He asked her if she made any corrections to the various violations that were listed on the report of the inspection. Other than cleaning the upstairs, Bobby said she didn’t make any changes and the violations remain.

Earhart asked her if any additional things have been stored at the house since the inspection in September. Bobby said Jason has stored things there.

William F. Baxter, Kosciusko County Health Department, said he was included in the inspection warrant for the home that the city got from the courts in September. As a result of the inspection, Baxter said he issued a condemnation order for the property on Sept. 25.

“The reasons for the order were due to want of repair, filth, no water and unsecured dwelling,” Baxter said.

He said he has not since inspected the property because no one has contacted him to say that any of the issues have been rectified. The condemnation order is still in place and can stay in place 50 years as long as the property is secured and not falling down, or until the issues that were there when the condemnation order was issued are resolved. If the property is sold, the property is still condemned.

Earhart asked Building Commissioner Ray Behling if there’s been any estimate made of what the cost of repair to the home would be versus the cost of demolition. Behling said their estimate to repair the home would be $41,000, and the cost to demolish it would be $15,000.

Earhart told Bobby that in her and Jason’s absence at the previous hearing he entered a demolition order on the property, but no action has been taken.

“Your house is still standing. I’m going to vacate that demolition order that I originally entered, but I’m going to enter an updated demolition order for your property that will start today,” he said.

He reminded her that there’s an appeal period if she wants to appeal his order. If before the property gets demolished, she sells it and someone else wants to come in and rehab it, Earhart said they need to keep in touch with the city about it.

“But I am going to issue a new demolition order, effective today. I’m going to do that simply because, I think in all fairness to you, because neither you nor your husband were present the last time, that I need to do that,” Earhart said.

He told Bobby that the clock is ticking for her to do something to the property, appeal his order or sell the property.

Earhart ordered her to be back before him at the March 10 hearing for an update on the property.

Little Crow Lofts

Another property reviewed again by Earhart was Little Crow Lofts apartments at 201 S. Detroit St.

Little Crow Lofts has been before the city’s code enforcement hearing officer for the past several months about various interior and exterior violations.

At the Dec. 16 Warsaw Common Council meeting, Little Crow Lofts resident Mike Holloway said there’s getting to be an issue of “dead cars” being left in the parking lot, but the regional apartment manager told him they can’t be towed.

Behling told Earhart Tuesday that “we have gotten some updates on the ceiling situation, with the debris coming down. We’ve got some conflicting (comments) – some say that it’s complete and some residents saying they’re still having issues on areas that weren’t done in their apartment. So I don’t know where we’re at with that.”

He also said someone was just given a contract to fix the building masonry on the outside.

Julie McCartney, regional property manager for Commonwealth Management Properties, which owns and manages Little Crow Lofts, said they do have a plan on the masonry moving forward. They consulted with three different masonry contractors.

“We’re going to have one of our construction crews come down. We will have to wait until the weather breaks. We need to have a constant temperature of 32 for air and surface temp. And no rain for four to five hours or have it covered,” she said.

She could not provide a definite date as to its completion due to the weather.

As for the ceiling, McCartney said that’s been complete. The residents she spoke to, or that the on-site manager spoke to, said they haven’t had any further issues. She planned to go to Little Crow after Tuesday’s meeting.

Behling then brought up the cars that haven’t moved and trash outside the building. McCartney said she witnessed some Monday that were still tagged by the city in the first lot.

Code Enforcement Officer Dana Hewitt said currently there are two vehicles remaining that have been tagged and five others have moved since being tagged. He told McCartney the owners have had a 72-hour notice and since it’s on Commonwealth’s property, they can have the tagged vehicles towed.

Earhart scheduled an update for the property at 10 a.m. March 10.

Other Properties

In another continuing case, Earhart heard an update on the Economy Lodge, 3521 Lake City Highway, owned by Jay Patel.

A storm had caused damage to the roof in 2019, which resulted in water and other damage inside the hotel.

Cole Kline, public adjuster with Hope Public Adjusters, representing Patel with his insurance claim on the property, said the roof repairs did begin Monday. Those should be completed this week, and once it’s water tight, repairs to the inside can begin. As for the interior, Kline said there’s a “dispute resolution method” taking place between the insurance company and appraiser to work on coming together for an agreement on the total amount of loss. There’s no timeline with the dispute resolution method. “It’s in the negotiation phase of the claim,” Kline said.

He was asked to come back before Earhart March 10 for an update, unless the project is completed before then.

The other property before Earhart was for 1410 E. Center St., owned by Terry and Connie Holzheuer, who said they are demolishing the property. They would be interested in selling the property.