The Peterson City Council will conduct its annual spring walkabout this month. It’s an opportunity for the mayor and councilor to look around the city at properties that may be out of compliance with city ordinances. The areas of concern are junk/clutter and the nuisance vehicle ordinance.
The city adopted its nuisance vehicle ordinance in November 2018 after property owners needed to be compliant in addressing junk and safety concerns or refused any communication with the city. The council approved the ordinance and later approved adding fines when the city still struggled to get action from property owners.
Last July, the council detailed continued frustrations and adopted a junk/clutter ordinance. The ordinance clearly defines what constitutes non-compliance, provides a reasonable amount of time to rectify the situation, and provides the city with a means of enforcement.
The fine schedule for nuisance vehicles is $50 for the first offense, with an additional $25 added for each offense afterward. The ordinance states, “Each vehicle in violation may be cited separately. A second offense citation may be issued for each vehicle that remains in violation 30 days after the first citation and additional citations again every 15 days thereafter that pass without resolution.”
For junk/clutter, if the property owner chooses to take no action after being notified of a violation, the city can impose a fine of at least $100 or not more than $300 per day if the condition exists. In both ordinances, fines are added to the property tax rolls if unpaid.
Where there is an issue, the city will communicate with the property owner regarding the non-compliance. Should the property owner choose to take no action, the city can impose a fine of at least $100 or not more than $300 per day that the condition exists. These fines are added to the property tax rolls if left unpaid.
Council members will walk the city separately, document the addresses and reasons they believe properties to be out of compliance with the ordinances, and submit their list to City Clerk Chris Grindland. He will compile them for one report for the council to review at the June meeting. Then, the council will take action on properties notified of non-compliance.
A Recreational Fire Ordinance was also approved. Any recreational fire within the City of Peterson must meet the following regulations: may only burn clean, untreated wood or charcoal; no wet or green wood from trimming trees; no leaves or other yard waste material; no other items that cause a significant amount of smoke; fires shall not exceed three feet in height, or three feet in diameter; and no burning which interferes with public health and safety.
“Any person found in violation of this ordinance may be fined in an amount provided for on the City fee schedule. Each instance in violation may be cited separately. Any person convicted of violating any provision of this ordinance may be charged with a petty misdemeanor. When a recreational fire is in violation of regulations, it may be extinguished immediately by city staff without notice,” states the ordinance.
Also new to the city is a garden at the museum honoring longtime volunteer curator John Erickson and the veterans of Peterson. The gardens will feature a walkable paver path. In addition, friends of Peterson will order pavers to honor a specific veteran if requested. The veteran’s name, years served, and branch or rank are needed. Friends of Peterson is heading up both the garden and the paver program.
“Everyone seems to be positive about this,” noted Councilor and Friends of Peterson member Gail Boyum.
Friends of Peterson will maintain the gardens, and the city will mow grass areas. Sentenced to Serve will assist with installation, and several volunteers will help.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, June 14, at 6 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.