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Deadshot Bay neighbors looking to abate

With the passing of a new amendment to the building code ordinance in Detroit Lakes, the Deadshot Estates Condominium Association is asking the city to take care of the unfinished construction at 1941 Long Bridge Road.

A year and a half ago, the association asked the city to replace a cap on a foundation for safety concerns. The city complied and assessed the cost to the property owner, which is the Bank of New York since it was foreclosed on.

According to the new ordinance, construction can be considered a nuisance if the structure has been under construction for more than a year, or if nothing substantial has been done for six months. This property meets both criteria.

In fact, nothing has been done to the property for 10 years.

"The question we had, as a staff, was does it constitute as a nuisance" enough to devalue the neighboring property, City Administrator Bob Lousieau asked the Community Development Committee. The land has a market value of $246,000.

Neighbors who attended the meeting agreed the foundation was unsightly and that 10 years has been unreasonable to have it unfinished.

Lousieau pointed out that someone could still build on the property -- which already has a house and guesthouse on it -- and still be blocking the condos' view of the lake. Alderman Bruce Imholte made a suggestion, as he has in the past, that the condo association should buy the land and turn it into a park.

Alderman Leonard Heltemes suggested the city go ahead with the ordinance, deem the property a nuisance and push in and cover the foundation. The cost would then be assessed to the bank, the owners of the property.

Alderman GL Tucker suggested getting a dialogue started with the bank to see if they would do anything about the problem since with the snow flying already, soon the foundation will be covered for several months.

The council decided to contact the bank and hold a public hearing in January to get the abatement process started. When asked by a neighbor what the abatement would consist of, Louiseau said it's too early to say.

"It's premature as to what kind of corrective measure will be taken," he said.

City Building Official Cal Mayfield added that it is a legal and costly process, with the city having to pay for the demolition of the foundation until either the property is sold or the bank pays for it.

"It's not a 20-minute decision," he said.

The item was placed on the agenda for review again next month, and the bank will be contacted in the meantime.