The City Council has declared a castle-style home in the Ranch village a public nuisance and threatened to order it demolished if the owners don't finish their long-running remodeling project within four months.
The decision caps more than a decade of debate and litigation over the Kron Street home, which has been under construction for more than 12 years.
During this time, the Ganish family has continued to live in the house even though it lacks drywall, windows, ceiling covers, plumbing and proper electrical wiring.
A city report presented at Tuesday's council meeting labeled the home an uninhabitable fire hazard. Electric conduit is exposed throughout the house, and makeshift lights have been improperly wired, the report stated.
City building inspectors and county fire officials said the unsafe wiring could ignite the mounds of construction debris stored both inside the home and in the back yard, and cause a blaze that could easily spread to neighboring houses with wood roofs.
Tuesday's three-hour public hearing on the issue was punctuated by procedural disputes between City Atty. Joel D. Kuperberg and Robert Sainburg, the attorney for Fern and Victor Ganish. It also included a tearful plea to the council by the Ganishes' 18-year-old son, Gilad.
"You may feel like, 'Let's tear down this house.' The next day, it will be over for you," Gilad Ganish told the council. "You will still have a home to go home to."
Ganish repeated the family's claim that the city has harassed them and "made us out to be bad people." He said the remodeling dispute has made his family outcasts in the community.
Sainburg said the Ganishes are willing to discuss what specific modifications to the house the city requires.
"It seems to me that the wrecking ball solution is not the right solution here," Sainburg said. "All Mr. and Mrs. Ganish want to understand is what the problem is."
But council members said that the Ganishes are well aware of the city's concerns and have ignored previous orders to bring the home up to code.
Council members said they were convinced that the house was a nuisance in part by pictures taken of the interior by building inspectors. The pictures indicated that some rooms in the two-story home consist mainly of wood-framed walls and ceilings. Pictures also showed that staircases are incomplete.
City officials said it would cost more than $200,000 to complete the remodeling project, which would require moving a small portion of the home's foundation off a public easement.
The council gave the Ganishes 120 days rather than the usual 60 days to abate the nuisance before demolition proceedings begin.