BRUNSWICK HILLS TWP. — A vacant house on Center Road has attracted curious kids who have broken into the dilapidated structure and now first responders want township trustees to take actions against its owner as well as the owners of two other troubled properties.
The Brunswick Hills Fire Department assessed the home at 5101 Center Road in addition to two other properties, located at 2291 Pearl Road and 911 Marks Road, and have determined them all to be hazard, Brunswick Hills fire Chief Anthony Strazzo said Tuesday.
“The Fire Department has determined that these are a hazard, not only if we were to have a fire, but if kids are curious and enter the structure,” Strazzo said during a township trustees meeting. “At one of the structures, we actually found an open cistern which, obviously, somebody just walking through would have or could have fallen into. It has since been covered.”
The homes have not been officially condemned, but Strazzo said trustees have to start the process of finding the responsible owners.
Police Chief Tim Sopkovich said his department has had an issue with people entering the building on the Center Road.
“We’ve had kids breaking in there a couple times,” Sopkovich said. “The floors are pretty rotted out. You can fall through to the basement in a couple spots.”
After hearing from Strazzo and Sopkovich, trustees moved Tuesday with a plan to send an initial courtesy letter to the property owners asking them to take the necessary steps to make the properties safe.
It is the first step trustees said they can take.
Trustee John Witthuhn said no one has had any contact with the owners.
Strazzo said the homes were in pretty bad shape already when he signed on as fire chief in 2013.
Witthuhan said the property owners would have 30 days from receipt of the letter to correct or challenge the issues with the properties.
If nothing is done, a second letter sent by the township would mandate that repairs be made to the property within 10 days. If nothing is done then, a third letter would advise the owners of an administrative hearing to determine the outcome of the properties.
Ultimately, the township can move to legally correct the issues, up to and including demolition.
In other news, with summer drawing near and residents entering vacation season, Sopkovich reminded residents of the police department’s Vacation Watch Program.
“Reminder, I know it’s getting to vacation time,” Sopkovich said. “Everyone’s either coming back from the south or heading out, but we have our vacation watch program still in effect so anyone who is going on vacation, we’d like to watch over your house. We just need to know when you’re leaving.”
Residents can fill out a form at the police station providing their address, the dates of travel and an emergency contact number.
“We have three shifts of guys. Whenever they have their regular routine, they’ll drive by and check on everything and make sure everything’s the way it should be and when you come back everything will be great,” he said. “They won’t cut you’re grass though.”