One Grand Rapids Homeowner’s Fight with City Government

One Grand Rapids Homeowner’s Fight with City Government

As tax season grows near, Grand Rapids city residents will pay their annual city taxes to help keep the city running smoothly. While the city of Grand Rapids does many wonderful things for residents, there are times when government reach gets way out of hand.   And Grand Rapids Nancy Wilson can attest to that fact.

When Nancy Wilson took semi-retirement 10 years ago, she embarked on a monumental project of restoring one of Grand Rapid’s majestic homes that were built in the early 20th century.

Now one would think that the city of Grand Rapids would welcome this type of project – restoring a historic, but run-down home to its full grandeur.   But not in this case.

“I knew in my mind that it could be an amazing place, and I kind of in my mind had a 10-year plan”, says Wilson. Her biggest challenge has not been the century-old wood, peeling plaster, the layers of wallpaper, rotting joists, the bee-infested attic, or the deteriorating plumbing.


Her biggest challenge in restoring this home has been the Code Compliance division of the city of Grand Rapids. Wilson has already been fined over $2400 in code violations, and now the city of Grand Rapids has slapped her with a misdemeanor crime!

The neighborhood Code Compliance division of Grand Rapids collects over $2 million per year in code compliance violations by hiring people each spring to walk around town and look for violators of every city code one can think of. Even a small brush pile in your yard could garner a fine!

Next time you decide to take an old, dilapidated, century-old home and restore it to something you – and the city of Grand Rapids – can be proud of, watch the video below and think again.


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