Although a discussion on dilapidated properties was not on Warsaw Common Council’s agenda, the matter of a property on Ranch Road was addressed during Monday night’s meeting.
City resident Michael Alspaugh attended the meeting to inquire about one specific property at 1405 Ranch Rd. “Do we have a criteria for when a property becomes dilapidated enough to the point where the city has to step in and either tear down the property or go after the owner and force them to tear them down?” he asked.
Alspaugh said his neighbors claim they have dealt with the abandoned house for 8 years, a time period city attorney Mike Valentine disagreed with. The house has been abandoned, however, for some time and now has a substantial section of the roof covered in a tarp.
According to Alspaugh, who mowed the property’s lawn over the weekend, the grass is often allowed to grow to two feet tall and is a haven for mosquitoes and even rats. “It appears nothing’s being done,” he said.
Mayor Joe Thallemer said the building inspector was out to the property last week and a process is now beginning but added, “The process of condemnation is very lengthy … it’s a state statute that protects homeowners and landowners from municipalities coming in and knocking the building down,” explained Thallemer.
The mayor did note that a hearing with the code enforcement officer is planned and the meeting will be open to the public. Thallemer did add that, in short, homeowner Donna Antonides will be ordered to bring the property into code compliance or the city will condemn and demolish the house. “This actually started about a year ago when it was brought to our attention from a delinquent sewage bill,” he said. “We are addressing it.”
Alspaugh then asked about the Gatke building and what plans the city has for it. Thallemer explained that engineering and architectural students from Ball State University will be in town next month for a four-day charrette, which is a study and planning effort.
During the charrette, the students will study a number of areas of the city, meet with city leaders and hold public meetings, then work to devise possible development plans.
Although councilman Charlie Smith, who also serves on the Warsaw Redevelopment Commission, noted that the property is not suitable for housing or even anything like a hotel due to the water, he said the commission opted not to seek out any conclusions for the Gatke building just yet. “After the charrette, we’ll have a clear path,” he noted.
Among the things that must be considered for the property are transportation and area housing concerns.
City resident Mike Ragan also attended Monday night’s meeting and inquired about the former Arnolt building along Argonne Road and what, if any, plans the city has for that dilapidated building. Thallemer said the property has been purchased and is not city property.