Million-dollar mansion ordered demolished for zoning violation

1:09 PM, Feb 22, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - You can't help but stare at the 9,000 square-foot home in the Lakewood Hills subdivision in Washington Township, Michigan.

It comes complete with a circle driveway, tennis and basketball courts, and even an elevator inside.

"Oh, its a beautiful home. I can't complain. It makes the property value of this subdivision sky-rocket," said Tom Kemling, who lives across the street.

But a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals states all or part of this custom home has to be demolished.

But why?

The mansion sits just 80 feet from the next-door neighbor's home, instead of the 100 feet required by local zoning.

"It was clear that the homeowner, Palushaj, was violating the deed restrictions," said Mark Kadian, the plaintiff's attorney.

The eight-year battle between the Thom family, who lives next door, and the Palushaj family, who built the mansion, has been going on since before construction of the home even started.

Kadian says rules are rules.

The Palushaj's built the home after knowing it would violate the restrictions.

"It's not simply 20 feet, it's an imposing structure that clearly imposes on the enjoyment of their house," said Kadian.

Palushaj's attorney, Joe Viviano, says property line boundaries haven't been enforced by the Lakewood Hills subdivision in years.

"Over half of the neighborhood is in violation when it comes to property lines, how can we just single out this one family? This case, for a long time, has not been about justice but about inflicting pain, vindictiveness and spite," said Viviano.

Viviano said the house was built to accommodate the special needs of one of the couple's six children, a boy with cerebral palsy.

The lawyers said there have been talks about a financial settlement to avoid demolition, but they have not been successful so far.

"We've tried to compromise all along, but he (Simon Palushaj) has not been reasonable," Kadian said.

Other residents of Lakewood Hills say they don?t mind the house, but can see both sides of the battle.

"We sat in on some the hearing and the judge told Palushaj if you loose this case you may have to tear down your home, so he knew it was a possibility," said Kemling.

"I would hate to see them have to tear down their house, but rules are rules, I don?t know it's such a tricky situation," said Theresa Kemling.

The defense plans to take this case to Supreme Court to try an avoid demolition but the Thom family is moving along with the appeal courts ruling, a motion will be filed soon, demolition could take place before the summer months.

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