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Tipp City razes controversial house

Fears it would collapse because of a corroded storm pipe prompted its demolition.

A one-story house in Tipp City that sat atop a large, corroding storm drain was demolished by the city Monday, wiping away years of controversy and finger-pointing in about an hour.

The controversy had pitted the owner of the house at 274 Miles Avenue, James Labosky, against the city council and administration. The city eventually bought the house and decided to demolish it rather than attempt some other repair.

For now, the property will become a neighborhood park.

After Labosky bought the house in 2001 he discovered the corrugated metal storm drain beneath it was corroding and he feared it would collapse and take the house with it. He asked the city to fix it and initially the city said it was his problem.

In a 2012 interview with the I-Team, Labosky said “I was out of work for a while and fought to save my home then and I’m fighting to save my home now.”

An engineer hired by Labosky said the city should have never allowed the builder to put the house over the storm drain when it was built in 1957 and added to later on.

Labosky hired an attorney, he said, after repeated attempts to convince the city to take responsibility for the problem produced no results. Last year the city agreed to buy the house for $128,000.

City Manager Tim Eggleston said buying the house was the city’s best, most financially prudent response. Eggleston said he was also concerned about the disruption of the flow of water from the large drain into a creek behind Labosky’s house.

“We were not sure of the ecology that developed along the stream so this was really the better option than plugging up the pipe and then possibly facing other issues down the road,” Eggleston said.

With the house gone, the city will be left with just under a quarter acre of property. The sidewalk will remain but the driveway and any trace of the house will be removed.

“At this point it will be a neighborhood park until council decides what to do,” Eggleston said. “With the drainage pipe there that’s what it will remain as. If the pipe ever collapses then the lot will be graded in such a way that we won’t have to replace the pipe. So there will be a lot of options down the road.”

Eggleston encouraged people who live nearby to contact the city council if they have ideas for future use of the property.

Reached Monday, Labosky said he is happy a family won’t have to “bear the burden of stress” the home could cause.

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