Man Claims City Demolished His Home Without Giving Due Process

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

David Glenn is fighting for his home... or at least what's still left of it.

Glenn's home on Donald St. in Lansing's Old Everett Neighborhood has been red-tagged for nearly a decade and while he claims he's been trying to fix it up, the city says it's too late for that.

When he bought the home about 20 years ago it was in definite need of some fixing-up, and Glenn had some big plans.

But those plans are no longer necessary. Demolition began Wednesday on the house Glenn says he's poured more than $30,000 into and he argues the city's code compliance department didn't give him a fair shot to stop it.

"To watch them in just an hour or two just pull it all down was hard," Glenn said. "I've sort of prepared myself for it mentally thinking that it could happen but I'm a little surprised, frankly."

But that surprise is a bit lost on Scott Sanford, the lead housing inspector for Lansing's Code Compliance Office.

Sanford said the home was brought into the 'Make Safe or Demolish' program in 2010 giving Glenn plenty of time to bring it up to code.

"During this entire process--this three and a half, almost four year process--at any time the owner could've simply started working on the property, bringing it up to code and everything would've stopped," Sanford said.

Since 2010, Glenn has taken the city to court on a few different occasions and the case eventually ended up in the Michigan Court of Appeals where the City of Lansing ultimately prevailed.

While the property was held up in litigation during that period of time, Sanford said Glenn should've made an effort to bring the property up to code.

"There's really a limit to what the city can do, it's up to the owner and for nine years this was an unsafe, tagged property sitting on the street vacant," he said.

"It's always a last resort, we're not out there actively trying to tear down houses."

Sanford said Glenn was given more than ample opportunity to make his case at several show-cause hearings which the city is required to have before demolishing any home.

But Glenn said he was, in fact, doing work on the house the entire time but it wasn't work addressing issues specified by Code Compliance.

"I would admit the city has been on my case for a long time for various code issues... but I've worked very hard to make it not so," Glenn said. "I think it wasn't an eyesore in any way on the day they came to knock it down."

Sanford said the cost for demolition will fall on Glenn since he is the owner of the property.


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