‘I just want it to be over’: Local family forced from home over feud with Ann Arbor Township

Set of keys inside a door. (Pexels)

ANN ARBOR TOWNSHIP – Local residents Gloria Grundy and Bill Boring have been living in a hotel room for the past two months with their teenage son over what they say is an ongoing property rights feud with Ann Arbor Township officials.

Grundy, who owns the family’s property in Ann Arbor Township, said issues with the township began in 2008 when a complaint was filed about vehicles parked on the property and the couple received some blight violations for an older barn that was needing repair.

Grundy said they amended the issues at the time and continued to receive violations over the years, amounting to a total of $30,000.

“The code enforcement officer just comes onto my property at any time that he wants to and writes us tickets,” she said, adding that tickets are often written in duplicates due to her and her husband having different last names.

In 2020 during the first months of the pandemic, Grundy said township officials came to her door and said they wanted to enter her home to inspect the integrity of a part of the property where Grundy and Boring were repairing some siding.

“We didn’t want anyone coming inside of our house because of COVID,” said Grundy. “They got an administrative search warrant to come inside of my house. That’s when they saw we were working on the bathroom.”

Grundy said the inspectors took issue with her bathroom renovations and gave them 75 days to wrap up the repairs, a time frame she felt was unreasonable. During this period, a township official told them they need to replace their septic system and drain field. The family had found someone to do the replacement work, but said that project fell through.

“If anybody knows anything about contractors and construction in the last two years, you can’t find anybody to do the work,” said Grundy. “People don’t even return your phone calls. We were scrambling. We made a lot of progress to get this done.”

Eventually, Ann Arbor Township red-tagged the home on Oct. 6, deeming it uninhabitable.

“We had six hours to vacate the house,” said Grundy. “They never officially with documentation have told us in a letter form what exactly in our house is dangerous. None of it makes any sense.”

The family had been living in a hotel at the rate of $900 a week until recently. They have since found other housing arrangements.

“I’m going to have so much credit card debt I won’t be able to see straight,” said Grundy.

In between court appearances and ongoing renovation work, the couple’s 18-year-old son, William, was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

“His chemotherapy day was always on Tuesday when we had a court appearance,” said Grundy. “The prosecuting attorney would say, ‘Why do both of you have to be at the clinic? Why not just one of you?’”

She said the entire process has been emotionally draining and her family just wants to return home.

“I’m living in a hotel that I can’t afford to live in much longer,” she said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to us. We feel that a lot of this has been a money grab and there should be an investigation. I’m a tax-paying citizen, I mind my own business, we don’t bother anybody.

“Leave us alone and give us our rights to be able to work on our own home. I should be able to pull a permit on anything that I choose to do there and have no backlash or any issues whatsoever about it. They never tell us why we can’t get a homeowner’s permit.”

The family had hoped to be back in their home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Now, they are working to find a contractor to complete the work on their drain field so they can return home as soon as possible.

Ann Arbor Township Supervisor Diane O’Connell provided the following statement:

“The property has a long history of health, safety, and zoning violations. Currently, after inspecting the house, the township found that it is unfit for human occupancy due to numerous health and safety violations. Additionally, the Washtenaw County Health Department has also determined that it is unfit for occupancy due to a failed septic field.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.