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City to place lien on Wisteria Farms

Andy Ouriel • Aug 11, 2015 at 3:18 PM


A privately owned property keeps causing headaches for public officials and community members.

At wits' end trying to eradicate a never-ending nuisance, Sandusky city commissioners on Monday plan on pursuing a lien against the Wisteria Farms property, formerly Esmond Dairy, located on Campbell Street near the railroad tracks.

The lien, totaling $59,000, represents all known taxpayer dollars to date spent on demolition, cleanup and other related costs since spring 2013. Earlier this year, city officials told the Register only $13,200 had been invested into this property.

In spring 2013, city officials arranged for an emergency demotion on the building after parts of the former factory unexpectedly collapsed.

Most of the asbestos-laden bricks and concrete — piling as high as 15 feet  — stayed on site for almost a year after demolition occurred.

Sandusky officials couldn't act quicker, they contend, because the city doesn't own the property — Marilyn Prieur does.

Tired of waiting, city commissioners this past spring decided to meddle into her private arrangements and approved spending money to remove on-site debris, doubling as a public safety threat.

Their valiant attempts still fell a bit short.

Many of the hazardous bricks, blocks and garbage remains.

A new feature, however, sprouted up: Weeds have now grown several inches high between the debris strewn about.

"There is no question that it's still a nuisance," commissioner Dick Brady said. "You can't leave neighborhoods like that. How would you feel living next door to bricks? It looks like a third-world country."

Placing a lien on the property, however, doesn't guarantee a refund of taxpayer dollars.

Prieur would either have to:

• Pay the lien in full — an unlikely scenario, considering the Erie County auditor's office indicates she owes $11,400 on this property.

• Sell the property to someone willing to purchase this $92,000 property, saddled with a $59,000 lien.

"The only way we can get our money back is to put a lien on the property," Brady said. "We cleaned it up and made it safe. Our only course of action now is to bill them for what we paid for."

It's unknown at this point what city officials can do to completely clean this property.

"We are trying to find some kind of dollars that are available to clean this nuisance up," Brady said. "We have a responsibility to abate the nuisance that could still jeopardize the safety of our citizens."

Despite the challenges, many residents want officials to remove all rubble sometime soon.

Making sense of the dollars and cents

Sandusky city commissioners placed a $59,000 lien against the Wisteria Farms property owner to recoup all taxpayer funds spent on demolition and cleanup.

Among who they spent the money to and for how much:

Date                        Amount      To

April 2013              $2,500        Mannik and Smith

September 2013   $400            Affiliated Environmental

September 2013   $24,700      Port Clinton landfill

October 2013        $8,400         H & H Environmental

October 2013        $1,000         Affiliated Environmental

October 2013        $8,800         Abdoo Wrecking

October 2013        $4,000         H & H Environmental

May 2014              $9,200        Jenkins Environmental

Note: Figures rounded

Source: Sandusky finance department

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