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Nuisance House Reviewed By City Council

By Staff | Jul 19, 2017

On Monday, July 10, Pat Reding appeared before the Emmetsburg City Council to update the members on the progress of his property that had previously been declared a nuisance.

Previously, the Reding/Wallace residence, located at 1705 7th Street in Emmetsburg had been condemned by the city. As the council planned to move forward with nuisance abatement, it came to their attention that partial owner, Pat Reding, had not been informed of the council’s intent to condemn and demolish the home. The house is owned by four of the previous owner’s children. Three of the children had been notified, but Pat Reding was not. By law, the council is required to inform all owners of a property before demolishing the home.

Reding appeared before the City Council, with his lawyer, Thomas Lipps on May 22 to plead for more time to get the home up to city code. At the May meeting, Reding came with a construction contract listing all the work that he planned to have done to the home in order to save it. At that time, the council determined that Reding would have until July 15 to get the house up to code with a review of progress on July 10.

“When I was here the first time, I shared with you a document provided by Tri-J construction When I talked with Mr. Jorgenson in April, I knew full well that he had other people on his list of work to do. So I knew things weren’t going to happen immediately, and they haven’t, but there has been some very good progress made,” Reding explained. “I think that anyone driving by will notice that a good faith effort has been made to make that a little more appealing to the eye. I am continuing to work on that.”

“Kim [Kibbie] and I have been watching that property daily since the meeting, and you’re right some of the thinning of the growth around the house was done quite a while back,” City Administrator John Bird commented. “But until Friday, not one thing had been done to the structure on the outsidefrom our perspective, there hasn’t been a good faith effort. The deadline is today, and the work just started Friday.”

“I know that the siding is going to go up tomorrow, and he [the contractor] has the funds available to get it completed,” Reding replied.

“Was that a bidding process that you had to have this work done and you needed it done by July 15, did they know that?” questioned Bill Burdick.

“He had hoped that he would be able to get it done by July 15, but there was nothing set in stone,” Reding commented.

“We’ve had these in the past, they come and do a little work and ask for an extension. They then get close to the due date, and they ask for another extension,” Bill Burdick voiced his concern.

“So you’re asking to night for more time?” Councilman Brian Malm asked.

“I’m asking for to have the opportunity to complete the work,” Redding answered.

“Just a reminder, this didn’t start in April, the first notice was sent out last year,” John Bird, explained to the council.

“Not to me though, sir” Reding reminded the council of his late notice of the house’s condemnation.

“When you get these repairs completed, what is the plan for the house? Are you going to rent it? Is it going to remain empty?” questioned City Clerk, Kim Kibbie.

“I had at one juncture thought about retiring in the home, that is still a possibility but I can’t say with any great certainty what might unfold between now and when I retire in a few years,” Reding replied.

“I’m just questioning if you’re going to put all this money into it and it’s going to sit there without anyone occupying it. What is the inside going to be like? Is it going to be livable?” Kibbie asked.

“We’ve been working on the inside of the house, and the inside is very livable,” Reding responded

“I would support giving a little more time; I won’t give a third chance. The work that you’re talking about has to be done by whatever extension or you’ll have wasted your money,” Councilman Mike Hermansen commented.

“The position I take or the reason maybe we need to get tougher about these things is because if you are focusing on Mr. Reding’s burden. But how about the burden on the neighboring property owners; we don’t want to get in the business of tearing down homes, but one of your obligations to the citizens is to enforce the laws on the books. There is a neighboring property owner who has been grieved and it had been determined by the building inspector that the structure did in fact rise to the level of a nuisance. We’re the ones that have to articulate to the neighbor.” John Bird addressed the council.

“I talked to both of those neighbors. One of them on the phone, one of them face-to-face, I stated my sorrow that they had been looking at that the way that they have and I made a purposeful trip up here to talk with him and his wife. I said, ‘folks, I will do my darndest to make it better.” I’m very well aware of their sentiments, and I hope that as they look across there that they recognize that my intentions have been noble.” Reding responded.

A motion was made to give Reding 30 days to complete the work. Condemnation and abatement procedures would begin on August 11.

On July 10, the City Council approved and adopted amendments to Chapter 50 of the Emmetsburg Code of Ordinances. This new code better defines what constitutes a nuisance to include “”any condition that is allowed to exist and remain on a property that serves no essential purpose to said property and that, by the condition’s very existence, adversely affects the comfortable enjoyment and/or value of the neighboring properties.”

This amended ordinance also expands abatement procedures for a nuisance property.