Hammond addresses stalled projectThere were 25 items on the Village of Hammond regular board meeting agenda on Monday, Feb. 13. One of the items has been discussed at board meetings for nearly five years.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
There were 25 items on the Village of Hammond regular board meeting agenda on Monday, Feb. 13. One of the items has been discussed at board meetings for nearly five years.
There are a number of safety concerns associated with the vacant property on Fithian Street owned by Mark Maple.
Village Attorney Tim Scott said the board has two options to deal with the issue.
He said the village could issue a raze order or pursue a nuisance procedure — though the nuisance order would be a stretch.
Scott said issuing a raze order allows court action, which could cost thousands of dollars if Maple challenged it.
“These kinds of matters judges are reluctant to follow unless it’s an extreme case,” Scott said. “You can easily spend $10,000 to $20,000.”
Scott estimated the Maple property case could cost the village around $5,000.
“This is one of those deals where you have to ask yourself, how important is it for us to address this problem and spend that kind of money? And I can’t guarantee you success,” Scott said.
He said if the board chose not pursue court action, the other option is to continue to monitor the property and notify Maple of problems that need to be fixed.
The board discussed how issuing a raze order might finally “scare” Maple into finally completing his project.
“If we issued a raze order, he (Maple) would have to make the decision to challenge the board in court. So, it’s going to cost him money as well. In addition, he risks losing everything he’s invested financially,” said Trustee Chris Buckel.
Buckel suggested the board send an inspector to the residence to determine how to make the property safe and aesthetically pleasing.
The board voted to have Brian Wert, village building inspector, go through the residence to estimate the cost to reasonably repair the property to meet safety standards.
Village Clerk Kelly Brett said she will contact Maple.
Public Works Director Rodney Turk said he will go through the residence with Wert and give the board a report on his findings.
In other news:
-During the informal public comment time, resident Mary Rivard claimed the village has discussed closed session items under incorrect statutes. She said the numbers of some of the statutes don’t match the narrative.
“We should be a little aware of correctness of statutes,” she said.
Later in the evening, the board approved going into closed session related to village union contacts, even though the statute should have read 19.85 (1)(e) and not 19.85 (1)(g) as it was printed in the evening’s agenda. The decision was based on the fact that the narrative of the statute was correct.
-The board approved waiving the impact fee for Dustin Smith, who recently purchased the 975 Davis St. property. Dustin and his wife Christy plan to open a coffee shop and bakery.
-Village Financial Advisor Brian Reilly discussed financing options for the proposed Davis Street project.
-The board discussed options for notifying residents and businesses of the proposed Davis Street project.
-Guy Young, owner of Guy Metals, 1890 Guy Metals Drive, addressed the board about the lack of communication on their part to inform him about the annual Tax Increment District payment he is owed and his letter of credit request.
-The board approved the village participating in the Hammond Showcase in March.
-The board approved paying Utility Operator Randy Lindquist $500 for filling in for Director of Public Works Rodney Turks while he was on leave for six weeks.
-The board approved allowing Chuck Fedie to use his sick time to bring his significant other to medical appointments. The approval is an exception to the village’s current sick time policy.
-The board approved the purchase of a loader wing, not to exceed $12,000. The funds will come from equipment outlays.
-The board approved the purchase of a lawn mower and accessories for $13,400. The funds will come from the machinery and equipment outlay.
-The board approved paying the appointed emergency government director $1,000 – Police Chief Rick Coltrain currently holds the position.
-The board approved changing the inspection fees from $10 to $20 per dwelling with less than six units and $15 per dwelling for six units or more.
-The next regular village board meeting is March 12 at 7 p.m.