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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

Home owner given more time

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

(Photo)
McCook City Manager Kurt Fritsch is looking for ideas to use the empty space, top, once occupied by the Romanoff building at Norris and B in McCook. It was once a bank, which was replaced by the building recently demolished, center. "Romanoff Square," right, was proposed for the site in 2001.
(McCook Daily Gazette)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council voted to delay abatement for two weeks, on a nuisance property at 8101⁄2 W. Fourth Street, at its semi-monthly meeting Monday evening at Council Chambers. While the council gave the property's owner, Sharon Boley, the extra time, several members expressed concern that, after a year with no progress, two additional weeks might not change anything.

Boley cited difficulty with getting a plumber out to the property and claimed that a previous demolition, of the main house on the same lot, may have damaged the water lines. She requested, "45 to 60 days to have it done and over with."

Councilman Mike Gonzales said, "The water was turned off in 2009. What steps have been taken since then?" Boley repeated her claims that she could not get a plumber to analyze the damage and said she felt like a victim in the scenario.

Councilman Jerry Calvin asked Boley, "What have you done to help yourself in this scenario?"

Boley repeated claims that she had been trying, prompting council members to cite further complaints, from neighbors of the property, regarding rats and flies.

Gonzales asked if she had made contact with an exterminator, prompting Boley to say, "I suppose I could try to get one [an exterminator] out in the next month. What kind of exterminator is needed?" Gonzales responded by explaining the council was looking for a plan of action from her to resolve the properties issues. He later added that he was, "Very concerned with what hasn't been done since June of 2009."

Chief of Police Isaac Brown told council members, "What you don't see in the pictures is the condition of the house itself and the number of animals. The odor and presence of urine-soaked floors, bothered my eyes and breathing while I was in the house. We physically could not get to the basement safely. The condition of the house, because of animals and filth, is a health hazard, as was also the conclusion of the health board after inspecting and reviewing the property."

Brown went on to say that he understood there were water issues but the property owners "had over a year to get water in there. It's a nuisance property, unsafe and a health hazard. I have been hearing talk of more time, but no results, since June of 2009."

City Manager Kurt Fritsch echoed Brown's statement, saying "The bathroom was absolutely filthy. There was a separate cat that lived in there. They seemed to have their own turf. Don't know how many were in the basement because we couldn't get down there."

The City Council voted to confirm the McCook Board of Health's finding that the property was a nuisance, but delayed the abatement for two weeks and instructed Boley that water service must be reconnected to the property within that time period.

Steve and Renee Fritz were given until Dec. 6, 2010, to have their property at 302 Airport Road cleaned up and within its assigned zoning regulations. The Fritzes made claims that the building inspector had not been out as required and also that the nuisance abatement paperwork was directed at the wrong address as well as containing inaccurate ownership information. Police Chief Brown explained to council that "as was explained to the Fritz's, the property was inspected. The building inspector did not feel safe going on his own, after a conversation he had with the Fritzs previously. They [the Fritzs] were provided copies by me that the trailer [on the property] cannot be there. His response was that he didn't agree and would not comply." Brown went on to say the couple had received more than ample information regarding nuisance issues surrounding the trailer and several junk vehicles on their property.

City Manager Kurt Fristch added that the Fritzes were asked to provide a plan regarding their solution to the nuisance issues and they refused to provide one.

Amidst further claims from Steve Fritz, that the trailer on the property was referenced as a mobile home and is actually an on-site trailer, City Attorney Nate Schneider scolded Fritz by saying, "This is not a game of hide the ball."

Schneider went on to inform the council, that since there seemed to be legitimate issues regarding which mailing address some nuisance abatement notices were mailed to, it was best to give the Fritzes some additional time to bring the property into compliance. The Fritzes were subsequently granted a delay on the abatement of their property and instructed that it needed to meet light industrial zoning ordinances by the Dec. 6 deadline.

Rob Henry brought in pictures, from earlier that day, detailing progress he had been made on the property he owned at 211 West P Street. Henry said he understood the hazard his lot posed, especially being so close to an elementary school, and said he expected to be completed with pulling all concrete and leveling the lot out by the end of this week. The council thanked Henry for making progress on the project and granted him two additional weeks for completion.

Alejandro Martinez asked for the council's guidance regarding requirements to remove nuisance classification from two properties, 1416 and 1418 W. Fairacres. Martinez explained that he had recently entered into a contract for deed with the current owners of the properties. Fritsch offered to have the building inspector walk through the properties with Martinez at a later date, "It should let you know what you're up against in repairs," said Fritsch.

The council voted to pull the two properties from the nuisance abatement motion and to revisit the topic at the next meeting.

Dan Smith, General Manager of the Middle Republican Natural Resources District, recapped how the Integrated Management Plan will affect McCook and the surrounding area. Smith said the IMP does include the possibility of shutdowns in water short years, but said it is the board's intention to do everything it can to avoid them. Smith referred to the IMP as a plan that the MRNRD would implement with a series of rules and regulations that, among other things, would call for a series of reductions all across the basin designed to avoid any kind of a shutdown. "This should keep us from having to make these large swings in dry years," said Smith.

Council member Aaron Kircher asked how the allocation for municipalities worked, to which Smith responded that the amount had been established with the previous City Manager and allowed for approximately triple what was currently being used by McCook.

McCook citizen Gene Morris commented, following Smith's presentation, saying that he appreciated "the council giving time to a very important issue," one that he said could cause a significant loss for area irrigators.

"Because of the potential impact, this deserves strong study and consideration," said Morris.

Other items on the consent agenda:

* Nebraska Machinery was awarded the bid for a new four-wheel drive rubber-tired loader for the transfer station at $86,000.

* Bid specifications were approved for a new vehicle for the police department.

* Several of the mayor's appointments to area boards were ratified. Including Tammie Hilker reappointed as the Planning Commission representative; Michael Owens, Mike O'Dell and Leon Kuhlen were appointed to the Community Redevelopment Authority Advisory Board; Judy Dow was appointed to the Housing Agency Board, and Michael Eklund, Flora Lundberg, Tammie Hilker and Jerda Garey were appointed to the Planning Commission.

* The McCook Area Chamber of Commerce was granted special liquor licenses for a Nov. 17 mixer at Janssen Kool Honda and a Dec. 8 mixer at Wells Fargo Bank.


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