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City Attorney's Office threatens BOX House, other State Street tailgates

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BY JILLIAN BERMAN
Daily News Editor
Published September 23, 2009

The 900 block of South State Street is known for its raucous tailgates on football Saturdays. But if the Ann Arbor City Attorney’s Office has anything to say about it, then maize and blue clad fans, spilling into the sidewalks at the corner of Sate Street and Hoover Street from the BOX House and other properties, could be a thing of the past.

Do you usually stop by the State St. tailgates on the way to the Big House?

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On Tuesday, Senior Assistant City Attorney Kristen Larcom sent a letter to Michelle Grobler of Arch Realty Company, asking the residents of 917, 927 and 933 S. State St. to “cease and desist from engaging in illegal and dangerous conduct.”

The letter goes on to say that city officials are prepared to file lawsuits against the landlord if the behavior continues.

“We appreciate your willingness to pass on to your tenants that there is ‘zero tolerance’ for illegal activities, such as possession of open intoxicants in public, minors in possession, littering, excessive noise and other disorderly conduct,” the letter states.

In an interview yesterday, Larcom said the City Attorney’s Office has sent similar letters to landlords in years past, adding that the office sent the same letter to the entire block.

“We sent them to houses where the problems occurred,” she said.

In the letter, Larcom writes that the office will take action if the block continues to be a “public nuisance” on football Saturdays.

“Rooftop activities and crowds spilling onto the public sidewalk are among the behaviors that create significant public safety hazards,” the letter states. “A failure to voluntarily discontinue such dangerous behaviors will require the city to take more forceful action.”

But despite the warning, LSA senior Alex Girard, who has lived at 933 S. State St. — better known as the BOX house — for three years, said students walking by his house on Saturday won’t notice much of a change.

Girard added that the “sole reason” he chose to live in the house was because of its Saturday traditions.

“I don’t really think that we have to do much,” he said. “Really just keep people off the roof and keep people off the sidewalk.”

Girard said he’s “not really concerned” about the letter and he assumes things will be “business as usual” come Saturday.

“They’ve come by and yelled at us before,” he said. “As long as we pretty much keep people off the roof and keep people from doing stuff that’s too stupid, I think we’ll be fine.”

Grobler of Arch Realty said this was the first time she received a letter like this from the city, but added that she has “heard of such a letter” before.

“We just directed the letter to the tenants just to let them know that the city is willing to take action,” she said. “What I’ve heard is that it’s mainly the people that go to these parties that cause these problems.”

Larcom said police have given the houses citations in the past, but she’s not sure what actions the office will take if the block continues its rowdy behavior.

“We have to wait and see what happens,” she said.


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