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Foundation to be abated

After years of trying to rid their neighborhood of an unfinished building at 1941 Long Bridge Road, the Deadshot Bay Condo Association got its wish Tuesday evening.

The Detroit Lakes City Council unanimously voted to abate a nuisance of unfinished construction, after 10 years, of a house on the property.

The unfinished house shares the property with a house and garage, which are in foreclosure and now owned by a bank in New York.

Neighbors came to the council meeting Tuesday, reading into the record eight letters asking the city to abate the nuisance. Under a new ordinance the city passed last year, the property is in violation because it hasn't had significant work done on it in the last six months and the exterior substantially affects the neighboring residences.

Letters came from Betty Keller, Scott Fischburg, Ray and Cher Ristvedt, Warren and Marti Wermager, Jerome and Renee Chelmo, Robert and Carol McDougall, Linda Wiedmann and Evelyn Simpson.

Several stated the condos up for sale have not sold because of the mess across the street. In 2008, the city, citing safety concerns, had the foundation cap replaced. Tall weeds were also mowed and a snow fence removed.

Wiedmann, as head of the condo association, said some people may not notice the blight as they drive by, but that's because they don't have to look at it out their window every day.

"All of the criteria has been met and exists," she said.

City Attorney Bill Briggs said this was a unique case, in the sense that most abatements the city pursues are easily handled -- trash removed, weeds cut, and so on, but in this case there is a substantial amount of work that needs to be done.

"In order to protect the city, the city would have to adopt a finding of specific facts" to prove it's a nuisance according to the city's code and then proceed through the court system, he said.

Alderman Ron Zeman said since the neighbors had been before the council in the past and the property was a problem, he made a motion, which was seconded by Madalyn Sukke, to abate the nuisance through the court system as Briggs advised.

Alderman Bruce Imholte said he supported the motion because it fits the criteria. Whether or not it's a personal idea of a nuisance or not, he said, "it's all subjective."

Also at the council meeting, aldermen agreed to:

• Enter into an agreement with the city of Perham, Pelican Rapids Fire Department and Ashby Fire Department for participation in the city's Instant Alert System. The entities will share in the cost of the system.

• Hold a special council meeting Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. in city hall, which will be used as a planning meeting.

• Hold a public open house meeting for the Detroit Lakes Transportation Planning Study for the West Highway 10 and South Highway 59 area, which will be held Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. in M-State, Detroit Lakes.