Products’ site: ‘absolute disgrace’

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Tall grass and weeds surround the former office and headquarters of the Tecumseh Products Company. Photo by Mickey Alavardo.

During the Monday, June 2, Tecumseh City Council meeting’s public comment session, Tecumseh resident Nadine Seitz brought her concern of the current conditions of the former Tecumseh Products property, now owned by Tecumseh Food and Machinery, LLC., to the attention of city council.

“Evans Street is a main corridor in and out of this town and about from Kilbuck to the fire department it is an absolute disgrace,” said Seitz. “When you live down there and you see that everyday it’s pathetic.”

“We don’t like it any better than you do,” said City Manager Kevin Welch.

Currently, Tecumseh ordinance Article II, Sec. 86-33 (c) states that all developed portions of a property must maintain grass, brush, scrub trees and weeds at a height of six inches or less.

“That ordinance, unfortunately, doesn’t adequately address a big piece of property like that,” said Welch in an interview on Tuesday, June 3. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, we’re dealing with a small piece of property. What we try to do is get the property owner to maintain it themselves.”

Properties that violate the Weeds and Noxious Plants ordinance have 10 days to cut the grass after receiving a notice from the city. If the property is not cut after those 10 days, the city can send a contractor to cut the grass.

The property owner then receives a bill from the city for the contracted grass cutting. If that bill isn’t paid, it is applied to the property’s tax bill.

“The problem in this situation is to send a contractor in there to cut the grass, we’re probably talking two or three thousands dollars each time to cut it,” said Welch during the council meeting. “And some of it, I don’t even know if we can have access to it because it’s behind locked gates. If the city had to cut that 10 or 12 times we’d be on the hook for about $35,000 without a guarantee of being paid.”

The current owner of the property, Tecumseh Food and Machinery, LLC., was notified of their ordinance violation on May 14, according to Tecumseh Building Services Director Brad Raymond. They had until May 28 to cut the grass. Both the tax and water bills are delinquent for the property, noted Welch.

A representative for the owner of the property indicated that the grass would be cut, according to Welch. If the grass wasn’t cut by Wednesday, he said that the city would go in and cut it, and then go on the normal process to maintain the lawn.

Along Evans St. the railroad does have an obligation to maintain some of that property. The city is going to reach out to the railroad to see if they can cut closer to the curb, said Welch. Having the city maintain the railroad’s property has its own difficulties.

“If we go in and cut it, it’s very difficult for us to collect the money because we can’t put it on the tax roll,” said Welch. The railroad is a non-taxable entity. “In fact, we had to cut it several years ago and have never been paid for that unfortunately. They have been pretty cooperative the last few years.”




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