Abandoned homes becoming problem

Despite demolitions, blight common in Ottawa County
Alex Green
Feb 25, 2014


Owning a home is still part of the ‘American Dream’.

Unfortunately, dreams sometimes end abruptly.

A noticeable collection of abandoned and vacant houses can be spotted throughout Ottawa County for a variety of reasons.
Government officials have mixed feelings about the issue but collectively do not view it as a dire problem.
“I don’t know if I’d call it a problem,” said Tracy Buhrow, Ottawa County building inspection chief. “Sometimes someone moves out, all of a sudden there’s garbage left, the land is (not maintained).”
Danbury Township Zoning and Planning Administrator Kathryn Dale has stronger feelings. She said two township properties were demolished last year, but she still would like to see about a dozen other properties get blown to dust. “They’re in very visible areas,” Dale said. “They can really be an eyesore.”
Members of Ottawa Residential Services have a message for Dale, and any other township or city official, even county residents who are sick of looking at a particular dilapidated home — bring it to their attention.
The group receives funding the Attorney General’s Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program.
The program was started in 2012 in an effort to get rid of an estimated 100,000 properties statewide in need of immediate demolition.
About $75 million was made available then by the state.
Ottawa Residential Services will be able to use some of that money to demolish local buildings up until May 31.
“I would encourage people (to bring blighted properties to our attention),” said Stephanie Lowe, executive director of Ottawa Residential Services.
The group, in tandem with the Attorney General’s program, helped to demolish 23 homes in 2013.
They have a short window to squeeze in a few more demolitions if they are made aware of the property, and if the property is eligible.
The building has to be residential and it had to have been visibly vacant for at least 90 days. Also, the owner of the property must give his or her consent.
“We’ve been lucky,” Lowe said, since every owner thus far has agreed to demolishing the property. In addition, the building needs to be inspected prior to its demolition, which is where Buhrow and his staff come in.
The building inspection department studies the structure during two inspections. They check to see if anything unusual exists within it — perhaps a basement with specific needs for it to be blown up. Asbestos is also commonly found in such residences. Getting rid of it can tack on about $8,000 to the Attorney General’s bill, Lowe said.
Dale said the program has been effective by showing immediate results.
Buildings at every corner of the county have been demolished as part of the program, Lowe said.
Ottawa Residential Services works to provide affordable and accessible housing options for all people, particularly disabled individuals.



They probably laid off their police and fire so they all ran!!


Maybe...WalMart can solicit for 15 or 20 employees to live there ONLY if the Federal government foots the bill!

Darwin's choice

How about publishing a list of these properties, and help with a possible sale?


There's been one on Route 2 since before I was born that needs demolished. It's right across from the wildlife refugee. Everyone knows the one I'm talking about.


yes, that one. the owner often brings a camper there and hangs out. he refuses to sell. I believe it was his parents' home but it is now just a shell.


What about the property on rt 2 just before crane creek? That whole place needs leveled.


There are also dilapidated homes that are not abandoned that the owners are sometimes at (but mostly not) and the house just sits in disrepair and the grass grows long. one next door to me is a haven for squirrels and a young man's 'friends'. There are also other properties where people are living that are full of junk and trash and the county has no program for that. Take a look at the green trailer on Lakeshore Dr near Wozniaks store-half their belongings and furniture are outside (they have lived there about 2 years I think) along with totes full of snow/water, trash, etc. It's an eyesore, but the landlady claims it's 'not that bad' and nothing is done. In the city limits you can complain about nuisance properties but in the county, I guess just abandoned ones.


Could be a result of the 11.5% unemployment rate.

Perhaps Ottawa Co. should change it's name to Outta Here Co.?


good one! in a sad kinda way..


Shows ya what happens when the politcos and bureaucrats rule an economy.


Yes, the main contributors to blight are located on the second and third floors of the courthouse.


If the taxes are being paid on the property, are there laws that can be enforced to have an uninhabitable structure removed? I have to concur with Darwin - if they qualify to be sold then issue a list so that interested parties can bid on them.

The yellow house, pictured, is just east of Walmart, on 163, and has been in this condition and the property listed as for sale for at least 20 years. Sadly, most properties in the lakeshore area are grossly overpriced due to their proximity to the lake.


I wonder...how many are bank owned?
Goldman Sachs "to do list";

(1) Cause economic bubble
(2) Burst economic bubble
(3) Apply for economic bubble bailout funds
(4) Foreclose on properties whose owners can't make payments
(5) Repossess abandoned houses
(6) Leave abandoned houses empty
(7) Require states, counties and municipalities to pay for demolition
(8) States use taxpayers monies to demolish
(9) Pursue banking deregulations
(10) Start process over in 25 years

lrherrel's picture

It is said there are SIX empty homes for every homeless person in this country today. No reason we should have any homeless people/families. But the banks would rather let foreclosed homes sit and rot!