Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, March 27, 2000

HL council puts teeth into nuisance ordinance

By Andrea Vargo

Howard Lake will be a cleaner, nicer place to live if the city council has its way.

Tuesday, it was presented with the first draft of an improved ordinance by City Administrator Doug Borglund.

It has easier to understand language, and it shrinks the timeline for processing a nuisance complaint to 13 days.

The old ordinance was cumbersome, with long time spans between letters to property owners and legal action, Borglund said.

Usually, before anything could be done about a complaint, it would snow and cover up the problem, he said.

The new ordinance is more aggressive and will allow three days for a letter to reach the property owner and seven days for him/her to appeal to the city clerk, Borglund explained.

On the fourteenth day, the city will move in and perform the clean-up work that needs to be done, he said.

All related expenses will be assessed to the property owner. Those include legal expenses and costs for city personnel and equipment use, Borglund said.

The council decided it will create a schedule of fees that will cover all those related expenses, so there will be no questions about the bill to the property owner.

Some changes in the draft were already needed, when the council discussed the definition of developed, plotted, and unplotted land in the city.

Unplotted land is defined by meets and bounds, rather than lot 1 block 5, for instance, Borglund said.

Perhaps, the council would prefer to refer to it as developed or undeveloped, he said.

Regarding developers, a letter needs to be sent to them indicating the height of weeds and grass that will be acceptable for the city, said Councilman Shelly Reddemann

That way, they can't say they didn't know, he said.

As far as the current clean-up that is necessary in the city, Smith told the council that now is the time to take care of it, since the city clean-up day is Saturday, April 29.

This revised timeline will provide due process for the property owner and results for the city, Borglund said.

Mobile home court

The lack of progress at the Howard Lake Mobile Home Court is still an issue with the council.

The owners, Dennis Peterson and Paul Phillips, have yet to build the storm shelter they promised to have complete by the first of this year.

"I have a major concern where we are on the manufactured home park (Howard Lake Mobile Home Court)," said Mayor Gerry Smith.

Borglund told the council, "We continue to return incomplete plans for the (storm) shelter."

One set of plans the park owners gave to the city was for a shelter that was built in Rochester, he said.

"I told them I wanted to see plans for a shelter for Howard Lake," he said.

Smith directed Borglund to work with City Attorney Charles Paschke to draft a letter to the owners, Peterson and of the mobile home court that gives them a legal deadline.

"We need to take every legal step we can for breach of contract," he said

There was a motor home parked on a lot in the mobile home court, and they wanted to hook it up "temporarily," said Smith.

He said the park manager came into his store and tried to convince him to give permission to hook it up.

He told her the campground is just north of the city on County Rd. 6.

Smith stated that he told her to check with the city administrator about ordinances, and if it was permissible in the ordinances, than it was acceptable.

He said she then went to the city administrator and told him that he said it was okay.

"I'm through messing with those people," Smith said.

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