Owner John Bagley talks about
the newly installed sprinkler system in one of his units at
the industrial park in West Bend. Bagley has five units
ready to lease but can not due to restrictions from the City
of West Bend.
Photo by John Ehlke
WEST BEND - A Washington County judge was told Thursday
that West Bend officials are growing more concerned
about the safety of the former Bermico building and will
continue efforts to raze it.
Attorney Timothy Algiers, representing the city, said
“no occupancy” signs posted by West Bend officials on
the building have been removed several times and work is
needed to make the building at 2100 Northwestern Ave.
The city has been involved in legal efforts since 2012
with the building’s owner, John Bagley, who claims he is
trying to renovate the building for new businesses.
In court documents, the city has described the building
as “dilapidated, dangerous and in an unsafe condition.”
They said in legal documents, deadlines have passed
without Bagley making repairs and improvements needed to
stop the raze order.
“We feel we’ve done everything they’ve requested, but it
seems every time we do that they come back with 10 more
things for us to do,” Bagley said Thursday.
Lights put outside of different units at the
industrial park in West Bend.
Photo by John Ehlke
Bagley said he has
permits he’s received from the state for his project and
believes city officials have failed to follow state
code. He said officials have been misleading potential
investors about the project to scare them away from
Algiers told Circuit Judge James
Muehlbauer during Thursday’s hearing all of the DNR
permits Bagley had received for the project expired in
The permit will expire in August,
“With city officials, it’s like one
hand doesn’t know what the other’s doing,” Bagley said,
adding it’s caused delays from them.
“John, you may be in over your
head,” Muehlbauer said. “You may have been too
optimistic about this project from the start. I think
you’re hoping this will somehow miraculously work out
and I don’t think that will happen.”
Muehlbauer asked both sides to see
if they could still work out an amicable agreement —
“but that doesn’t appear likely,” the judge said.
Algiers told the court the city is
so concerned about safety it would like to see a fence
around the building.
“Wasn’t there a fence up there
before?” asked Bagley’s attorney, Mark Brunner, who was
taking part in the hearing via telephone. “I think the
city told him to tear it down. Now they want it up?”
Algiers told the court any order to
tear down the fence did not come from the city.
Included in court documents were
affidavits from city officials detailing the condition
of the building and Bagley’s efforts to develop the
“Bagley represented to me he had
arranged for repairs of the building’s fire suppression
system,” West Bend Fire Department Capt. Tammy Lamberg
said in one affidavit. “He failed to complete those
Lamberg also said in the affidavit
“due to problems with the building’s structural
integrity, the West Bend Fire Department will not order
personnel into the property for interior fires.”
Officials from the Police Department
and the building inspector’s office called the property
a “substantial risk to public safety.”
The affidavit from the Police
Department called the property an “extreme risk to the
public.” The document stated between Oct. 26, 2012, and
June 17, the department had responded to 27 calls at the
building which ranged from suspicious people in the area
to burglary, theft and criminal damage to property. The
affidavit called that many police calls to one location
Bagley recently hired Brunner as his
attorney. The judge gave Brunner 20 days to file a
response to the city’s original claim. A hearing will be
scheduled after that.
Algiers said that after Brunner’s
response is received, they would likely push to have a
hearing held so evidence could he heard to have the
court issue a raze order.
“We want a
fast track on this case,” Algiers said. “It has dragged
on far too long.”