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'Junk Ordinance' revisited at Spring Valley City Council meeting

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Government

The first order of business to be tackled by the Spring Valley City Council at the May 27th meeting was another round at violations of the Junk Ordinance. Things have been relatively calm over the winter but now that the snow has cleared and the grass is growing there is evidence that there are still alleged violations of the Junk Ordinance.

The Ordinance dictates that private property needs to be in compliance but not allowing junk to accumulate or that vehicles on the property have to be properly licensed and to be in running condition.

The first property on the list presented by officer Kevin Beck was a tour of the Lyle Grabau property at Griswold and Center. The Council saw the basis of complaints from neighbors about the garbage in various bags and containers and that the grass has been allowed to be nearly as high as the fire hydrant on the boulevard. One neighbor said he had spotted a rat walking from the property across the road to the waterway. According to Administrator Deb Zimmer, many people complained about rats and other rodents having free run of the property.

One neighbor asked about this property and why the health department isn't involved. Mayor Struzyk said; "that will be addressed in another letter." Another person stated there was no heat in the house that they are heating the house with electric space heaters.

Councilman Bill Bires moved quickly to send a cleanup crew into the property and to take custody of those vehicles that will not run or aren't licensed. Tony Archer wanted to get it done within a week and that once it's cleaned up that it be monitored at least once a month. It passed unanimously. The owner of the property Lyle Grabau made an appearance after the hearing was concluded but asked permission to get more time to clean it up, but the Council stood firm to take action within the next few days.

Jeff Sween at the corner of Jefferson and Pleasant is no new comer to the Council regarding the Junk Ordinance. His property was cleaned up two years ago and needs to be cleaned up again. The major complaints center around old vehicles and a shed that is being built when there is apparently a cease and desist order prohibiting further construction. Bill Bires moved on this property as well and cleanup will be coming within days.

The Schmoll residence at 421 Warner Avenue made it to the Council chambers again. The vehicles on the property are in question if they are licensed or not. Schmoll says they are. Council will delay taking action if he can drive his vehicle downtown to City Hall to provide they are "in running condition." He will apparently have one week to accomplish this task.

Pictures of 315 W. High St. were shown by Kevin Beck. Zimmer said they have had numerous calls on this property on the bricks, construction materials and brush. A neighbor stood up and said that this property is no problem but other properties across the street have garbage piled up in the bushes behind the property and would gladly show city officials that there are other worse properties that the city isn't doing anything with. Deb Zimmer said that she will investigate the nearby properties.

Jason Osterhus appeared before the Council and was complaining about the dog at large ordinance. He stated that his dog was taken into custody by Leonard Leutink after the dog had run away from home. He said that he had to pay $100.00 as a "Dog At Large" fine, which is usually administered after the fourth time of picking up a dog. There is a difference of opinion as to how many times this particular dog has been apprehended by authorities. Some say "three", others say "four." This time Osterhus also had to pay a vet bill to the tune of $59.81. The question came up from Osterhus about Leutink being properly licensed as an "Animal Control Officer." Is it part of the job description or is there a more "formal" process to be properly designated? Regardless, City Officials will research the issue and get back to the Council. In the meantime, the dog owned by Osterhus is a black lab and according to Leutink; "he knows where the food dish is at the City building."

Some good news for walkers and bike riders. The council is asking for sealed bids for the 2009 Bike Trail Paving Project to the City Farm. Bids will be opened on June 17th at 10:00 a.m.

City Parks Director, John Fenske told the council that the DAC will not be doing the cleaning at the Community Center in the future. He thanked them for their work in the past. He also said that he is in the final stages of working out a contract with Senior Dining to have them continue to meet at the Community Center. Fenske also said that he has been getting calls to rent out the Center and that it's good to "see the excitement return to use the facility." He also said that the mass discounted sign in was a big success and that there were 70 t-ball players that signed up. He is getting ready for the summer activities and looks forward to be a busy season, starting with the swimming pool being open for business by June 1st.

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