The burned out home at 915 College Avenue must be torn down within 30 days, barring an appeal by the property owner. The structure was deemed a total loss after a fire earlier this year, and the Houghton County Building Inspector has officially listed it as a tear down. The City of Houghton now considers the former rental residence as a dangerous building. The owner was not at last night’s City Council meeting, even though he was given proper notice of the enforcement hearing. The body ruled unanimously to order the structure razed and cleaned up. The owner can begin the proceedings himself, or appeal to the 12th Circuit Court.
Houghton ordinance requires that insurance companies set aside a portion of any payout for dilapidated structures to be set aside in an escrow account. In this case, the total comes to around $13,117. If the tear down is more expensive, the difference is taken care of by putting a lien on the property, which is settled through tax payments. Municipal employees have experience with this type of job if the owner does not arrange for the job to completed.
City Police Chief John Donnelly said there were preliminary discussions ongoing with the Michigan Department of Transportation to try and slow down traffic on M-26. The downhill grade combined with blindspots created by the bend in the road can be particularly hazardous in the winter months. Donnelly says he would like a roundabout in the area. The review is a normal part of Houghton’s relationship with MDOT. He says the city will look to make a minor change soon on its own.
Donnelly says crashes happen most often on M-26 at the lights, but the hazardous, potentially fatal ones occur away from the signal intersections.