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Macomb Township

Board gives old home ultimatum

January 9, 2013

» click to enlarge «
A historic home along North Avenue sits vacant in a picture from August 2012. Since then, future owner Steve Furtaw has worked to bring the house up to code and save it from demolition.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Board of Trustees at its Dec. 26 meeting gave the owners of a long-time-vacant yet historic home 180 days to bring it up to code.

If the deadline is not met, the township will front the cost for the demolition of the North Avenue home and place the cost as a lien on the property.

“(The owner) would have to have everything done within 180 days from the date this order was entered,” said Larry Dloski, the township’s legal counsel.

The ultimatum provides time for the future homeowner, Steve Furtaw, to buy the home and repair it. Without the ultimatum, Township Clerk Michael Koehs said Furtaw, the township and the current owner were caught in a “Catch 22.”

“The guy didn’t want to put money into it if he didn’t own it,” said Koehs. “The owners didn’t know how to value it, and the township didn’t want to leave it there if it wasn’t going to be fixed.”

Originally, the township planned to tear down the building in September 2012, but the potential owner, Steve Furtaw, came to the Aug. 22 meeting asking the township to hold off on the demolition. He told the board he not only wanted to fix the home, but also live in it.

“I have met with the current owners, and the taxes are paid up-to-date and they are willing to work with me, as a new owner, to make this move forward,” Furtaw said at the August meeting.

Furtaw has declined an interview with the Chronicle.

At that meeting, the board approved to extend the demolition deadline. Between that meeting and the board’s December approval, Koehs said the current owner and the township went to court and settled on giving the latest deadline.

In August, the vacant home’s roof was caving in and trash was piled up in the front yard. Since then, Furtaw has secured the home and removed the trash.

Daniel Fairless, the director of the Building Department, confirmed the house has since been secured.

“A lot of tree removal and preparation has been done since August,” Fairless said.

He told the board he believes the house could be brought up to code within the 180-day deadline.

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