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Somers home teeters on Lake Michigan cliff; no plan in place to save it from falling

Posted: 6:08 PM, Sep 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-23 19:25:17-04
Somers home teeters on cliff near Lake Michigan

SOMERS — A Somers home that is teetering on the edge of Lake Michigan is getting closer to falling about 50 feet into the water without a plan in place to prevent that from happening.

A neighbor along 17th Street said they’ve lost another 8 or 9 feet of shoreline bluff to erosion during the last four months. Recently, huge chunks of the home’s foundation have even fallen into the lake.

"So far, it’s still hanging on; it’s hanging on for dear life," said neighbor Mike Gosselin.

Gosselin remembers when the three-bedroom brick house had a large backyard. Now about 10 to 15 feet of the home dangles over the edge of a steep cliff.

"The house is starting to tilt down toward the lake," he said.

Somers home teetering over cliff along Lake Michigan could fall any day due to erosion

About a year and a half ago, the homeowners abruptly moved out after their side porch fell into Lake Michigan and estimates to save the home were in the hundreds of thousands. Gosselin said heavy rain a few weeks ago only added to the damage.

Large trees, sheets of cement from the house and a village sewage pipe can be found in the federally protected water due to erosion.

"It eats right into this cove behind us, and it just chews it right out."

Somers Village President George Stoner said the village isn't responsible for the home, and he wants to avoid passing huge expenses onto taxpayers.

The bank which currently owns the home declined to comment.

"So far, it’s still hanging on; it’s hanging on for dear life." — neighbor Mike Gosselin

Without plans to move or demolish the house, Gosselin worries it could go for a tumble any day now, sending asbestos and lead into the water.

"The township doesn’t own it; there’s a bank that owns it," Gosselin said. "Somebody put ‘good faith’ money on it. He came over after the fact and looked at it, and he bought it site unseen. So right now, he’s trying to get his money back."

While uncertainty only grows next door, the Gosselins have decided it is time for them to make a change and move out as well.

"The wife’s getting nervous about it. I think we’re safe for a while, but she’s nervous."

Nervous they'll be in the same situation in just a few years.