The Village of East Troy is looking into the possibility of tearing down this dilapidated home at 2765 Main St. The home is unoccupied and in such poor condition, Police Chief Jeremy Swendrowski brought the matter before the Village Board Monday night.

Village deems blighted home ‘uninhabitable,’ after police chief raises concerns

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

A rapidly deteriorating home in a highly visible area in the Village of East Troy could soon have a date with the wrecking ball, based on a directive village officials handed down this week.

Police Chief Jeremy Swendrowski shared with the Village Board on July 2 his concerns for the property, located at 2765 Main St., just west of the Golden Dragon restaurant.

Swendrowski and Danielle Keller, the village’s code compliance officer, recently toured the two-story home and surveyed the amount of decay. Their findings are depicted in more than two-dozen photos.

While touring the property last month, Swendrowski and Keller documented instances of vandalism and graffiti, mold and moss growth inside the home, areas where the roof has deteriorated and large amounts of trash.

Swendrowski said he began investigating the property when he noticed doors to the home were wide open for prolonged periods of time.

“I had some concerns, and I tried contacting the (property) owner,” Swendrowski said, noting his attempts were unsuccessful.

The lower level of the home, which Swendrowski said is in poorer condition, reportedly has not had an occupant in about five years. An elderly occupant in the upper level was relocated from the home early this year.

Because the home was not secured, Swendrowski said he decided to tour the home with Keller and review the condition of the dwelling.

“I had no idea what I was walking into,” Swendrowski told the board. “The house was terrible inside. It’s in very poor condition.”

At Monday’s meeting, village officials directed village staffers to begin the multi-pronged process of deeming the property uninhabitable, based on the condition.

A sticking point in eventually bringing the structure down could be a growing list of unpaid back taxes and associated penalties, which currently totals nearly $24,000, based on information from Walworth County officials.

Jerold J. Buchan Jr. and David Chapman jointly own the property, according to county records.

Village Administrator Eileen Suhm said she has been in discussion with the county about the state of the unpaid taxes.

“The county is telling me they will not forgive the taxes,” Suhm said, pointing out a potential complexity in the condemnation process.

While the village continues dialogue with the county about next steps for the property, plans are in motion to begin the process of addressing the litany concerns around the property.

Before the home can be taken down, the village needs to publish a 30-day legal notice ordering all remaining personal property be removed from the home and ordering the dwelling be razed.

If both overtures are unresponsive, the village could begin the process of having the home torn down.

If the village does take matters into its own hands and raze the property, other issues will have to be taken into consideration, including environmental matters – particularly if asbestos is discovered.

Although several hurdles still need to be crossed, there was widespread support on the board toward remediating the site as soon as possible.

Trustee Alan Boyes said he would like the property boarded up immediately while the village goes through the various steps.

“We have a safety issue,” Boyes said.

Aesthetically, Trustee Matt Johnson said he would welcome any changes to the property, particularly since the dilapidated home is in a high-profile area near the village square.

“That property is definitely an eyesore,” Johnson said.

 

 
 

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