A property located along Langford Avenue in Kenyon was one topic of discussion for Kenyon City Council members on June 14.
City Administrator Mark Vahlsing explained nuisance conditions currently exist at the property in violation of city ordinances.
Violations include the outside storage of large semi-trucks that do not appear to be currently licensed or operable, along with other vehicles and miscellaneous debris stored on the property’s exterior area.
Vahlsing said the property is not approved as a junk yard, meaning the trucks and debris stored on the exterior must either be moved, housed within a building or screened with an approved fence.
Further use of the property, Vahlsing said, for sales, other exterior work or storage would require a screening and conditional use permit approved by the City Council.
City ordinance 2010.05 says: “On private property, the council finds an accumulation of unlicensed, unregistered/inoperable motor vehicles, household furniture, furnishings/appliances, parts/components thereof, or metal, wood, glass, paper, rubber or concrete capable of facilitating growth/spread of noxious weeds, the nesting/breeding of rodents, insects, and harmful bacteria, and be a threat of fire.
“Unless the accumulation is stored in a lawfully operated junk yard, housed within a lawfully erected building, or in a container permitted, and the contents disposed of, under provisions of the city code; it is a source of ‘filth, cause of sickness and an immediate danger to the health, safety and welfare of persons and property in the city.’
“if such unauthorized, unwholesome and dangerous accumulation is permitted to continue to pose such a threat it is a hazardous condition and a nuisance,” it must be abated.
To date, Vahlsing said the owner has not taken steps to abate the existing conditions that are in violation of city code. The city was contacted by the owner of the semis. Vahlsing said the owner said he has plans to resell or move the trucks by mid-August. But there has not been any contact from the property owner about cleanup or applying for a conditional use permit.
Based on the status of the property, Vahlsing said the next step in the enforcement process would be to schedule a public hearing. After the public hearing the council could order the conditions in violation of ordinances be abated. The council could then instruct the city attorney go to District Court and request a legal order to enter and clean up the property.
Vahlsing told the council the city has sent two notices to the property owner explaining steps on how to get back into compliance without any substantial changes to the exterior property.
Mayor Doug Henke said other property owners who received letters to clean up their exterior properties have made moves in just a couple months. The Langford Avenue property owner had been an issue for two years, he said.
“I think it’s time to move forward,” Henke said.
Council member Kim Helgeson said she was also in favor of moving forward with the abatement process. The sight isn’t a good visual for people driving by along Highway 60, she said.
Council member Molly Ryan agreed, especially since the property owner was given multiple opportunities to clean up the area.
Council member Dan Rechtzigel added, “Especially with the vehicles with registration lapsed, there feels a need for some action.”
The motion to move forward with the abatement process for 1 Langford Ave. was passed 4-0, with council member Mary Bailey absent.
Vahlsing said he will work with city attorney Scott Riggs to prepare and publish a public notice of the public hearing to be held at the July meeting.