Wyandotte resident Timothy Peloquin became frustrated and disappointed when the City Council would not sell him the empty lot next to the Victorian home on an adjacent lot that he bid $12,000 to buy. Both lots had been for sale within the last year. He and some nearby residents suspect the city has plans for the block that they aren’t making public. Peloquin has withdrawn his bid.
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Tim Peloquin will be retiring soon, but it’s no longer likely it will be in Wyandotte. He had planned to restore a foreclosed, city-owned Victorian at 150 Spruce, which he had successfully bid on for $12,000. He even had paid $700 for a structural engineer to inspect the house.
However, Peloquin wanted to buy the empty property next to the Victorian, which he thought was for sale by the city before Aug. 25. He showed up at five city council meetings, certified checks and plans in hand. He shared with the council his restoration plans, as well as a desire to build a garage for his collectible cars and a swimming pool on the vacant lot.
The council threw unusual road blocks in his path, Peloquin claimed. They wanted him to remove the new vinyl siding and new windows from the Victorian, despite the fact that it would not qualify for the Historical Registry. It had been moved from another location years before, which disqualified it from historical registry status.
A neighbor confirmed the wood underneath the vinyl siding was in poor condition as well as the council’s awareness that the home was ineligible for historical designation. Contract language also demanded all the new windows be removed from the Victorian and replaced with historically accurate ones.
A council member publically questioned Peloquin’s garage plans, and insinuated Peloquin might want the building for a business instead of his collectible cars. The council questioned the space available to put in a swimming pool. One council member even asked Peloquin if he wanted to move the Victorian, an undertaking which he said would have been almost prohibitively expensive.
Sheila Kearney, who lives at 146 Spruce, said the city recently tried to purchase her house, as well as the entire block, which is bounded by Biddle, Spruce, Second and North Line. Since the land is close to Henry Ford Wyandotte Medical Center, residents lent credence to rumors that the city was acquiring land for a medical center.
After six weeks of attending city council meetings, Peloquin decided he didn’t want to restore the Victorian without the empty lot next door. He also didn’t want to remove the new vinyl siding and windows in an expensive and impractical gesture to ensure historical authenticity.
Mayor Joseph Peterson was asked what plans the city had for the block, and why Peloquin was not given the chance to buy the lot, especially with many foreclosed properties in the city already costing the city lost tax revenue. The mayor said that because this issue was discussed in closed session, he was prevented by state law from commenting publicly.
“Something is going to be built there, but no one is talking,” Peloquin said. “When we put in our first bid, both lots 13 and 14 were for sale. What happened? If the house does not qualify for the Historical Registry, why do I need to follow the guidelines for one?”
The city’s Historical Commission had told Peloquin that he wouldn’t have to restore the home within historical guidelines because the structure was moved from its original location years ago. Peloquin said the Victorian had historical relevance to the Wyandotte area.
He doesn’t understand why the council would not sell him both lots.
“I wish they would sell the house lot 13 and lot 14, like I tried for in the beginning, like a normal sale,” Peloquin said. “Sit back and watch this corner blossom. I guess it wasn’t in the council’s cards. It’s too bad for the Wyandotte skyline, the historical commission, and the main street project. God bless Wyandotte.”
“New windows, new vinyl – why take it off?” Peloquin said. “That’s crazy, if they could sell it to us as a fixer-upper. I’m going to have to pass on this house. They’ll have to move it or tear it down at the taxpayers’ expense.”
Peloquin noted that Councilman Daniel Galeski voted in his favor, and acted in good faith. Peloquin had thought that by fixing up the Victorian and living there he was doing something good for the community.
“The council should be working for the people, and the small guy is going to lose again,” he said. “It makes me mad.”
The city council accepted Peloquin’s bid withdrawal on the Victorian at its meeting last Monday, and refunded his $600 bond.