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Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Owner ends fight to stop home's demolition

Village of Coldwater condemned blighted rental in 2012

By Doug Drexler
COLDWATER - The owner of a blighted rental home has ended his fight against the village's efforts to demolish the structure.
Joseph Lasko - who owns the vacant property at 315 W. Walnut St., Coldwater - has agreed to pay $2,000 toward demolition of the home, village manager/engineer Eric Thomas said. The amount will probably pay the cost of removing debris from the site, he added.
The home was condemned by the village in 2012. The village's zoning board of appeals in August denied Lasko's appeal of the village's action. Lasko's attorney, James Tesno of Celina, in September filed a lawsuit in Mercer County Common Pleas Court challenging the decision by the appeals board.
Tesno told the newspaper that demolition of private property by a municipality is an unusual action and Lasko wanted a court to verify the village had taken all the necessary steps.
Negotiations over the recent settlement began late last week and concluded Monday, village law director Judy Koesters said.
"I think they realized they weren't going to be successful," she said.
The agreement to have his client pay $2,000 satisfied both sides, Tesno said. The village will pay the remaining cost.
The court recently ordered the zoning appeals board to redo the hearing that took place in August. The new hearing was planned for Monday night but was canceled when the agreement was reached.
The village plans to demolish the structure, level the ground and plant grass at the site, Thomas said. Town crews will perform the work and should have the project completed in about two weeks.
Lasko retains ownership of the property.
The site is zoned for a single-family home, Thomas said. He would like to see it either redeveloped with a new home on the site or purchased by neighbors for additional lawn space.
Tesno said he and Lasko have not discussed plans for the property.
The village first contacted Lasko about the blighted property in a letter in July 2008. The village condemnation process officially began in May 2012, Thomas said. The house has been unoccupied since spring.
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