CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – Developer Sam Pitzulo, who had plans to demolish a historic Canfield house and build new homes on the land, has decided to back out of the deal.
Now Canfield’s zoning inspector wants the owner of the historic house to fix it up or be fined.
The historic Judson Canfield house sits hidden behind trees and brush off State Route 46, across from St. Michael Church in Canfield. Built in the early or mid-1800s, the house is rundown, with broken windows, severed utility lines and downed trees.
In mid March, Canfield developer Sam Pitzulo said he planned to buy the seven-acre property and build 20 new homes. At that time, the plan was to tear down the home, as the costs to move or restore it were too much.
But Canfield’s Architectural Design and Review Board denied Pitzulo’s request to demolish the house.
On Friday, Pitzulo released a statement saying that he had pulled out of the project.
“After much consideration and thought, we have decided not to pursue the purchase and development of the property… Because of the number of people who have been outspoken about saving the house… the owner of the house or the group who feels the house should be saved should concentrate their efforts on saving it,” read the statement.
Pitzulo added that he was not informed the house was located in a historic district when he began plans to purchase the property. Despite his efforts to save the building by moving it to another location, he said everyone he contacted was not interested incurring the costs of moving it.
“We understand and appreciate the historic value of the buildings in Canfield. We have lived in Canfield for 26 years,” the statement read. “One of the main reasons we were drawn to Canfield to raise our family was because of the Green and the history of once being the county seat. But, we must also be realistic. When a historic building is to be saved, there needs to be a reason to save it. Just being an old structure is not a good reason.”
Now, the issue has been pushed back to the city.
Canfield Zoning Inspector Mike Cook wants the house made habitable. It is owned by Blanche Kosling, who, at age 98, now lives near Columbus with her son Paul Kosling.
To expedite the process, Cook sent Kosling a letter demanding a plan be in place within 30 days.
“He has a responsibility to the citizens of Canfield to bring it up to code, to make it livable. It’s uninhabitable at this time, so he has to bring it up to code so someone can actually live in the house,” Cook said.
If Kosling fails to bring the house up to code, he could face a fine of up to $100 per day.