By Leslie Tilson
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer
After months of missed meetings by the property owner, the Bath Township board has once again rescheduled the public hearing to remove a collapsed barn located at 6275 E. Clark Road.
The most recent public hearing was set for the board meeting on Monday July 18. Township Supervisor Tom Schneider moved to reschedule the public hearing to the next board meeting on Monday August 1, as property owner Dennis Bosley was once again absent. Bosley was not available for comment.
Bath Township has a set of ordinances derived from the dangerous structure clause of the state building code. The township handles these cases on a complaint basis.
“We got a complaint that this was a potential dangerous structure,” said Troy Feltman, Township Superintendent. “One of our contract laborers goes out, and they do an inspection. They used that code as a basis to say that this is a dangerous structure because it meets one of these eight or nine condition factors.”
Once a structure has been deemed dangerous, the property owner is notified by certified mail that action must be taken to remove the structure. According to the Bath Township board packet for the July 18 meeting, an ordinance compliance officer discovered the structure on November 23, 2010. After the property owner is notified, there is a meeting set up between the officer and the property owner to set a course of action, however if these meetings see no results a public hearing is the next course of action.
“You see from the timeline of this situation that the property owner didn’t show up, and they didn’t show up,” said Feltman. “The recourse is when a dangerous structure officer is getting nowhere it comes in front of the board and we hold a public hearing.”
A public hearing is the last step before the board can make a decision to pursue legal action.
“We would then have to go to court and then the court could authorize us to tear it down, and then the person would be responsible for the charges that we incurred,” said Leon Puttler, Board Trustee. “Those could be put as a tax lean on his property. But we always try to work things out with people, which is why we postponed the public hearing until our next meeting.”
The board is hopeful that they will be able to come to an agreement on the course of action with Bosley before the next scheduled public hearing.
“It is strictly his responsibility, although we do want to help facilitate as best we can, we can’t use public tax dollars to help him,” said Puttler. “We try to give as many resources as available, but its up to them to follow through.”
Although the structure is on private property, the board is invested in taking care of it because of its proximity to Bath High School.
“Nobody is supposed to be on private property,” said Puttler. “But sometimes kids in schools go on it, it someone were to go on his property illegally and get hurt in the process, there is a liability issue for both him and the township. It has the ability to hurt the public, and we are here to protect the public.”