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Siblings’ indecisiveness on empty house keeps village handcuffed PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Morton   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:04

As an abandoned house on Manor Drive continues to rot, the issue of what to do with it seems to suffer the same fate.

“I personally don’t know what the hell to do,” Don Dohrwardt, president of the Fredonia Village Board, said at a May 6 meeting of the home that has sat empty since 2012 when its owner died. 

Today, its roof is partly covered by tarps and neighbors are complaining of its blighted condition.

Trying to avoid bringing the village attorney into the fray, the board tried one last time to make progress with one of the children of the previous owner.

Village clerk Sandi Tretow said a son told her he was at a standstill with the other three siblings, two of whom didn’t want to take ownership. 

“They think the village should just take care of it,” Tretow said.

The other sibling was not included at all in the will, Tretow was told.

“My recommendation is to have it probated,” Dohrwardt said. “Whomever the owner is can sell, get money, and have this over with.”

The outcome the village doesn’t want is to find itself responsible for the house. Dohrwardt said the process needed to condemn it and raze it could take up to a year and a half. Tack on legal fees and you’re looking at a price tag between $20,000 and $30,000,” he said.

Plus, there would be a dose of irony to swallow.

“We’d have a house and a lot and we’d have to hire an attorney to represent our interests,” he said, “already knowing we have no interest.”

The risk there, officials said, is that the siblings could finally make a move after the town’s remedies are in progress.

“Can we stop condemnation if it goes into probate?” trustee John Long asked. “If they sell it out from under us, then we’re most likely out our costs.”

Long said the situation is hard on neighborhood morale.

“There are eight neighbors that can see this dump, right in the middle of their houses,” he said. “They’re wondering if they’ll have to spend money to help fix it.”

Dohrwardt sympathized with their anxiety.

“Currently, their property values are probably suffering,” he said.

Long noted that the house, which has no power or water, has been considered abandoned for 2-1/2 years. In another 2-1/2, the property would be turned over to the county, per state statute.

But the board agreed such a delay was too extreme and agreed it was time to receive guidance from the village attorney at its May 18 meeting.



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