On July 19, 2011, City Council granted an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Certificate to Atco Industries, located at 7300 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights, for personal property associated with new construction going up on that site. At the time, Councilman Romano noted that he initially had some reservations about granting the exemption due to construction having gone “dormant”, however he had passed by a day or two before the vote and noted some construction activity.
Well, it looks “dormant” after all. Have a look:
A review of the presentation put on by the city last July shows that the city acknowledged that construction would be ongoing; Matt Schmidt stated that construction started “about a year ago” and would continue for another year, putting completion sometime around July 2012. However, this doesn’t explain the conditions at the building. Candidate for Council Joe Judnick pointed out during the October 4th regular council meeting that the property had recently been before the Ordinance Board of Appeals for the deplorable condition of the property. He showed photographs depicting piles of abandoned tires and other debris.
During my drive-through the other day, the tires were gone, however, large piles of debris still remain. A junk mobile construction trailer sits open on the property, the weeds grow high everywhere, and the interior of the building shell contains a large pool of standing water.
My questions are as follows:
- Why has this project been allowed to come to a standstill for so long?
- What impact does this have on the start and stop dates for the Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Certificate?
- Was construction restarted before the vote for appearance’s sake, and if so, was this somehow organized by the city administration?
- If members of council had a question in their minds about this construction, why did they not postpone their vote until real progress began in earnest?
- How much longer will Sterling Heights have to tolerate this eyesore?
In my opinion, this should be grounds for revocation of the tax exemption certificate, and the city should insist that either construction continue or the shell of the building be torn down and the property be restored to its natural state. What do you think?