Saline City Council appears ready to take a tougher stance with the developer who has yet to tear down the dilapidated home on South Monroe Street.
In November, Damian Farrell, who purchased city-owned land to build a condominium project, told city council that he planned to demolish the vandalized home as soon as he had the go-ahead from utility companies. Farrell’s Fairdene development has been at a standstill since the manufacturer of prefabricated modules used for the condominiums went out of business.
Councillors Dean Girbach and Janet Dillon have been pressing Mayor Brian Marl and City Manager Todd Campbells for answers on the property. It appears Marl’s patience is also being tested. At last Monday’s council meeting, Marl told council if the home wasn’t razed in a month’s time, council should consider its options.
“I connected with Damian Farrell Sunday and expressed the city’s desire that he expedite the demolition of the home. I asked if it was realistic that it could be demolished in a month’s time. He agreed it could be,” Marl said.
Marl said he would like to add the item as an agenda item in March.
“Hopefully, it’s removed by then. If not, we’ll discuss our options.”
Councillor Dillon said she appreciated Marl reaching out to Farrell, but seemed to indicate Farrell has had enough time. She referenced an email she sent Jan. 26.
“This will be six weeks beyond the the email and we’re still waiting on him. Would we do this for everyone?” Dillon asked. “The site is unsightly. I don’t know why we’re not being more aggressive in pursuing this.”
Marl said the tone of his call was respectful.
“We have a good rapport. I stressed in the strongest terms our desire that he remove the home. But we have to maintain a strong working relationship (with him). He has completed quality projects across the area and around the country,” Marl said.
Councillor Girbach said he was worried the city might once again find itself staring at a torn up vacant parcel of land. Girbach asked what City Attorney Scott Smith if the city had levers in the purchase agreement that might force action.
“He still needs to comply with the ordinances,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, Farrell continues to work toward restarting his project.
In November, Farrell outlined a plan which once again increased the density. The new plan calls for 21 two-unit buildings – for a total of 42 units. At the time, Farrell told council he hoped to break ground on the project this spring.