Neighbors raise concerns over run-down home on Little Floyd Lake
“There are abandoned vehicles there, there’s garbage there, people are living there with him, there’s been loud parties,” one man said.
DETROIT LAKES — A group of neighbors on Little Floyd Lake Road are concerned about a home that has fallen deeply into disrepair, and they asked the Becker County Board to take action on the issue.
“We have a concern with a property adjoining my property,” Kasey Klemm told the Becker County Board on March 7.
The building is an old schoolhouse that the neighbors say was condemned years ago, but that action was never acted on.
“There's no indoor plumbing there,” Klemm said. “There used to be septic hooked up to a purple trailer, in 1974,” he added, but that system is long gone. “There’s a very foul smell there, and it’s within 1,000 feet of Little Floyd Lake.”
The homeowner is a man who has some disabilities and used to get upkeep support from his mother, who has passed away. Now the man appears to have several other men living with him, he said.
“There are abandoned vehicles there, there’s garbage there, people are living there with him, there’s been loud parties,” Klemm said. “The people living with him have knocked on windows and bothered the neighbors."
One motorist was frightened when “a guy with a chainsaw tried to stop her in the middle of the road,” Klemm said.
“We have all the police reports,” he added. “He should have to have an operating septic system and clean up the vehicles — this is 34 years in the making. It’s become a detriment to the neighborhood. We want to voice our opinions today. We want you to be aware of the situation.”
“This is not the first time I've heard about this property,” said Becker County Commissioner Barry Nelson. The county is starting the process of revamping its comprehensive plan, and public feedback will “drive what we’re trying to accomplish in our next 10-year plan,” he said. “How do we address this type of property? That’s what this property is — it’s a hazard or nuisance.”
Commissioner John Okeson noted that there’s the same problem in Lakeview Township, where a person is living in a fire-damaged house near Lake Melissa.
“We have the sheriff’s officers working with us on this,” Klemm said. “The guy that lives there, his mom passed away. She used to keep an eye on him and an eye on the property. ... Nothing against the guy who lives there, but living there in this sort of conditions is not good for him or anybody else in the neighborhood.”
It has been an ongoing issue and nothing ever seems to get done about it, so the neighbors have vowed to keep on it this time,” Klemm said. “We’re just going to get after this,” he added. “We’re just going to keep following up and following up until something comes of it … as concerned neighbors, we would like to find a better place for him.”
Mark Denby, who lives in the neighborhood, told commissioners that “we were here before the pandemic reporting the situation — now six or seven years later, nothing’s changed. The house has deteriorated even further. It was condemned — myself and my neighbors remember the sign and yellow tape — but there’s no official record of it, that we can find.”
The school bus stop is “right in front of that house," he added. “The kids get on the bus in front of the house every morning and get off there every night,” he said.
The interior of the house is also in serious disrepair, added Al Lunde, and the homeowner deserves better. “I just wish for better things for him,” he said. “I’ve known him for years — I’ve encouraged him to clean up the house and yard over the years.”
Eric Lunde added that “he needs a better place to live. Neighbors have seen him get water from the river. They have no water there, no septic.”
In cases like this, Nelson said, “generally speaking, it’s a multifaceted problem.” Issues with the property are one aspect, but human services may need to get involved as well, he said.
Commissioner Erica Jepson, who works in the human services field herself, urged neighbors to make reports and continue to document and report problems, even if it appears on the surface that nothing is being done to help the situation.