For the first time in City Attorney Wald Klimczyk’s memory from the past 36 years, the city is seeking a court order to raze an occupied house that’s fallen out of code compliance.
Ty Bollerud owns and lives in a house at 419 S. Walnut St. Just over a year ago, city officials ordered him to vacate and fix up the property, according to a summons filed last week in Rock County Court.
Bollerud said he and four roommates live there. If the house is demolished, he’ll be able to “bounce around,” but his tenants won’t be so lucky, he said.
“None of my roommates have a good place to go. Not any of them,” Bollerud said. “These guys are going to be homeless. It’s a concern of mine.”
Bollerud plans to fight the raze order in court.
“I’m going to try to keep my house,” he said. “This house is in decent-enough shape structurally.”
A city inspection more than a year ago revealed the house has several code violations, including open electrical wiring, a lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and extension cords used in place of permanent wiring, among others, according to the court documents.
Bollerud doesn’t disagree with the order to correct, but he said he has corrected the issues that don’t require a permit to fix.
It’s too late to fix the house because the city has sought a court order to raze it. If a judge decides to give Bollerud another chance, he could fix it then, Klimczyk said.
In early July, the city served Bollerud with a raze order, stating he had to present a plan to the city showing how he intends to fix violations and remove debris from his property, including piles of wood, a trailer and cars. The order warned Bollerud if he chose not to make repairs, he would have to raze the building within 30 days.
On Feb. 5, the city again served an order to vacate and correct the same issues it brought to Bollerud’s attention a year ago, according to the documents.
“We just want to be fair and make sure he had every opportunity to bring it into compliance,” Klimczyk said of the timing.
The city also posted a placard on the house’s front door that claimed the building is unfit for human habitation and must be vacated by Feb. 19. Anyone violating the order could be penalized under state statutes, the placard reads.
Bollerud said the city hasn’t been malicious in dealing with him.
Bollerud and his roommates have not moved out of the house, according to Bollerud and the court documents.
Bollerud never applied for an order restraining the city from enforcing the raze order, so under state statute, he is now unable to challenge the order’s reasonableness, according to the documents.
The city seeks from the court:
- An order requiring Bollerud and the tenants to vacate the property.
- An order authorizing a law enforcement officer to remove anyone still occupying the property after a court-determined deadline.
- An order authorizing the city to remove personal items from the property to allow the building to be razed.
- An order authorizing the city to raze the house.
- Payment of costs the city incurs.
The city filed the summons in court Feb. 20. Bollerud has 20 days after receiving the summons to respond, according to the documents.