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This Goshen home at 803 Arehart St. on the city’s north side was found unsafe for human habitation during a meeting of the Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety Monday afternoon.

GOSHEN — A Goshen house was found unsafe for human habitation and targeted for possible demolition during a meeting of the Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety Monday afternoon.

Monday’s hearing involved a property at 803 Arehart St. on the city’s north side. The property had previously gone before the board on Aug. 2, at which time the property owner was granted until Monday’s hearing to get the violations corrected.

However, according to Travis Eash, code enforcement officer for the city, his most recent inspection of the house, which occurred on Friday, revealed little to no progress had been made on any of the ordered repairs.

Per the hearing documentation, the property was originally inspected Jan. 28, 2020, and was found to have numerous violations related to the city’s Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance.

Following the 2020 inspection, the house was inspected again March 25, showing no significant improvement to the noted violations.

A sampling of the 12 listed safety violations includes: the bathroom, which does not have running water, is being used for storage of materials and is not functioning as intended; the water heater does not appear to be in working order; the kitchen is unsanitary, filled with debris and trash, and does not have running water; the ceiling at the front of the house has collapsed or has broken ceiling tiles and needs to be repaired; the structures on the property are filled with trash and debris, blocking ingress and egress; and the garage roof has collapsed causing the entire garage to collapse.

Given the continued lack of progress following the initial inspection, the homeowner was ordered to have the house brought into compliance with city code by Aug. 6.

In particular, the order included the following six corrections:

• All electrical, mechanical and plumbing in the house must be assessed by a licensed electrician and plumber;

• The kitchen and bathrooms must be cleaned and maintained in a sanitary manner;

• All debris, excessive materials and trash must be removed from the premises so that there is no obstructed ingress and egress inside and outside of the property;

• The house must be secured and any holes in the ceiling repaired or the ceiling replaced;

• The chimney must be repaired so that it is anchored securely to the roof of the house; and

• The detached garage on the premises must be demolished and all debris removed from the property.

However, Eash indicated during the board’s Aug. 2 meeting that an inspection of the home July 30 revealed minimal action had been taken to repair the previously discovered violations.

Speaking to the property’s history, Eash explained that the homeowner, who currently resides in the home, had fallen on hard times in recent years which made the property’s upkeep difficult.

“The property, in my opinion, has only gotten worse over the time period,” Eash told the board during the Aug. 2 hearing. “Our recommendation is to give him maybe a little bit more time to get things done, but then if things cannot get cleaned up, and things turned on and in good working order, it’s to have the property demolished.”

The board’s members agreed with Eash’s recommendation for granting additional time to bring the property into compliance, and a motion was passed unanimously to continue the Aug. 2 hearing to Monday’s meeting, at which time the board would review any progress made on the home.

Yet during Monday’s hearing, Eash reported that his Friday inspection of the home had again revealed little to no progress had been made on correcting the noted violations.

“The entire house is still filled with trash and debris, and used for storage,” Eash told the board. “There is no clear path through the house, the front and back doors are open enough to get through, but not easily. During my inspection, the occupant stated that the basement had standing water, so I was unable to inspect that. I had made it down there prior, and it didn’t look like anything was in working order, like the water heater or furnace.”

Eash did note that it appeared some exterior landscaping and clean-up had been done at the home, though none of the other items from the original order had been completed.

“Due to the lack of utilities, accumulation of materials, trash and debris, and overall dilapidation of the property, and lack of compliance, the building department recommends that the property be determined to be unsafe, and that all structures on the property be demolished,” Eash said.

The board’s members ultimately agreed to go that route, and a motion was passed to find the home unsafe for human habitation and to grant the homeowner 30 days to bring the property into compliance with city code or face demolition.

It was also agreed that a follow-up hearing would be scheduled during the board’s Nov. 15 meeting to determine the homeowner’s compliance with the 30-day deadline.

John Kline can be reached at john.kline@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN.

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