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City wants to hook holdouts

Courtney Astolfi • Oct 26, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Three remaining campers at Hoppers mobile home park could soon be towed, and Sandusky firefighters are poised to start clearing the property of debris.

At about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, a Sandusky police officer armed with a chalk stick marked three campers at the Venice Road mobile home park. The temporary tags on the campers are expired, which would have allowed city officials to tow them Friday afternoon.

But the tow truck never came.

Sandusky fire Chief Paul Ricci filed the complaint Tuesday on behalf of his department’s code enforcement arm. He said the parked campers violate a zoning regulation.

The campers will be removed from the property when the fire department prepares to clear the area of remaining debris, Ricci said.

Early this week, Ricci awarded the cleanup contract to Herbst Excavating.

“They have a cost-effective solution,” Ricci said. “They’re a local provider, and we’ve worked well with them in the past.”   Over the past two weeks, the fire department had been accepting bids from various contracting companies. Ricci said estimates for the cleanup range from $15,000 to $55,000, but the exact amount has yet to be determined.

The city plans to use federal block grant money to foot the bill for the cleanup expenses.

“The contractor is ready to go as soon as the proper paperwork is filled out,” Ricci said, adding that the necessary documents should be signed and finalized by early next week.

The park itself was essentially made unlivable on Aug. 1, when city officials turned off all water access. The decision was the result of five years of unpaid bills, after owner Joe Yost failed to pay $260,000 to the city for water services.

An Erie County grand jury recently indicted Yost on two counts of felony theft. He had allegedly accepted payment from residents for those bills, but never passed that money on to the city.

Since Sept. 9, the city has been fining Yost $50 a day for each of the five fire code violations plaguing the defunct mobile home park. He now owes about $12,000 in fines.

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