BAINBRIDGE — Safety and property values are on the minds of Stone Ridge Colony community residents who are looking for assistance from the township concerning neighborhood houses in disrepair.
James Kadunc, a Stone Ridge Colony resident, told township trustees last week that he represented about 20 households out of the 60 in the community off Chagrin Road. The dilapidated houses are impacting home values and discouraging people from moving into the community, he said.
There are two unoccupied and run-down houses in the community that was started in the 1950s and another dilapidated house just outside the neighborhood, he said. “We’re seeking help through zoning,” Mr. Kadunc said, adding that he has been working with Bainbridge Zoning Inspector Karen Endres.
He asked if the homes can be condemned.
Speaking of the houses in Stone Ridge Colony, he said there are overgrown trees and shrubs and in some cases furniture thrown around the yard with gutters pulled from the structures.
One house has been abandoned for eight years and could be infested with rodents, Mr. Kadunc said.
The owner of one unoccupied house visits occasionally and indicated that she is not ready to sell the property yet, Mr. Kadunc said.
Mrs. Endres said the owner has told her she is going to re-roof the house and replace the gutters with plans to sell it.
At another house, a tree hit it in the spring and the grass was just cut for the first time in a long while. “He’s not interested in selling, and it is the worst one,” Mrs. Endres said of the owner.
Mr. Kadunc noted that the residents are talking of restarting the homeowners association that was active in the 1990s. Stone Ridge at one time went through to East Washington Street on the north side. The association was able to close that access, he said.
Trustee Lorrie Benza said she would suggest giving the owners of the dilapidated houses a short period of time to do something “or we will pursue the next option. There are provisions for the township when a situation expands beyond a court complaint for zoning. We can pursue it as a nuisance.”
The Ohio Revised Code gives townships the authority to establish nuisance standards that address excessive weeds and vegetation as well as structurally dangerous buildings and homes. Trustees need testimony from the county building department and fire department, and then notice is given to the homeowner and a hearing is held, she explained. They have to look at asbestos and abandoned septic systems when taking down such houses. “Those are all issues that have to be examined,” Mrs. Benza said.
Demolition could be considered with the township initially paying and then assessing the cost on the landowner’s property tax payment, Mrs. Benza said. Bainbridge would work with the county building department on assessing the state of the house, she said.
Nobody wants condemned buildings next to their homes, she said, but then there is the issue of citizens in the township paying the cost of cleaning up properties.
She said trustees will defer to Mrs. Endres for now to work with the owners to get repairs done.
Trustee Jeff Markley said the houses have to be deemed uninhabitable under nuisance rules.