Demolition reversal causes concern

By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – A reversal on a decision to demolish a city-owned property has caused discussion and concern among councilors.

Councilors had purchased the building at 936 Ford to demolish it, as the building sits close to the curb and blocks the view of southbound drivers on Electric.

But at a recent meeting, councilors voted not to demolish the building and started a bid process for its restoration, a decision Councilman James DeSana, who was absent from that meeting, decried in a letter to the council read at Monday’s meeting.

“There was no reason given at the meeting for the change in plans,” DeSana, who watched it on television, said. “It appears to me that some discussion must have taken place privately between individuals that changed the direction of the plan to tear down the building and put the land out for bid.”

DeSana urged councilors to stick with the original plan to demolish and seek a builder to construct a new building that would improve traffic flow and bring in more tax dollars for the city.

“I stil feel that the building ought to be torn down,” he said. “Maybe in five to 10 years, we’ll make up what you may receive from someone else.”

Of four received bids, only one, a $1 bid from Joe DeSanto of Coachlight Properties, which did not meet the minimum bid requirement of $13,120, met the specifications and permitted use of the zoned district. DeSanto said he still wanted to remodel the building, and his low bid reflected the $15,000 estimated cost for removing the first 10 to 15 feet of the building to improve visibility for drivers. The bidder of the minimum bid has since rescinded it.

City Attorney William Look said if no one meets the minimum bid, the city can act at its discretion.

DeSanto said he could finish the building in about a year and hopes to find a long-term tenant in the medical field.

“The intentions are to turn the building into something we can all be proud of,” he said.

The city council voted to refer the issue to the city engineer and the land sale committee for a report back in two weeks. City Engineer Mark Kowalewski also recommended an ordinance change for a 10-foot setback for corner buildings and a five-foot setback for all other buildings.

“We have a situation here that we don’t feel is amenable to our city but we need to look at all the locations in our city too,” he said.

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