BERRIEN SPRINGS — Oronoko Township Board members appear to have lost patience with the owners of a vacant apartment complex on Lemon Creek Road.
At Tuesday’s monthly board meeting, Supervisor Mike Hildebrand noted the township has been waiting for the owners to make promised repairs since last year. “The matter got to the board level last August and (Building Official) Rich Kubsch had been dealing with it for a year before that,” he said. “They’ve had ample opportunity to do something.”
Hildebrand reminded board members that the property owners promised last December that they would have exterior repair work done by June and also start interior repairs. To date, he said nothing has been done. The property has 10 one- and two-story units.
Hildebrand recommended and board members verbally agreed to have Kubsch enforce the property maintenance code and send the owners a notice that the building needs to be demolished. “We will send a notice on the township letterhead that it’s time that the thing comes down,” he said.
When asked about how much the demolition would cost, Hildebrand said he didn’t know but noted that the demolition of a single family home on Scottdale Road cost $25,000. If the township does demolish the apartment building, it would put the cost as a lien on the property.
In a related matter, board members had a first reading and introduction of an amendment to the cost recovery section of the property maintenance code that will allow the township recover more of its costs in demolition situations. The board is expected to act on the ordinance amendment in August.
“This further refines it so that all costs associated with the demolition will be charged against the property,” Hildebrand said. “This helps us recover other costs we incur when people drag their feet whether it’s legal fees and asbestos inspections.”
Board members also are going back to correct the private road ordinance they approved a couple of months ago. Hildebrand said the title of the ordinance inadvertently left in wording allowing gravel private roads when the ordinance itself does not. The correction was introduced Tuesday and will be acted on in August.
Also Tuesday, the board raised the mileage reimbursement rate for employees using their personal vehicle for travel on township related business. The rate had been 15 cents a mile, but will now be half the Internal Revenue Service rate, or 29 cents a mile.