Supervisor Mike Halliday brought a long-standing complaint from an area resident to the Linwood Town Board at the board’s July 11 meeting. Complaints began back in 2008. Halliday said the complaints cover “numerous properties in a couple block area” on 225th and 226th Avenue.
“There is some interesting stuff going on there,” he said. “We had conversations with residents, and normally not a lot happens.”
The complaints include difficulty getting through the streets due to obstruction as well as unkempt or junk-laden yards.
Halliday went on to say that last year, the town took seven residents to court “on different accounts, and they were all thrown out – that is what we are trying to avoid.”
The town is looking into how best to proceed with the situation.
“The township has been too lenient,” Supervisor Tim Peterson said. “There are fire pits right on the road because there is no room in the yard. We need to enforce the ordinances that we already have.”
Supervisor Carol Searing said that she had driven the streets.
“I wouldn’t want to live there,” she said. “On one road, there was a trailer and boat on the road. The fire department would have a hard time getting down that road. When we were living in St. Paul, if your grass needed cutting, the city would cut it for you and charge you for it.”
Halliday and Supervisor Ed Kramer concurred.
“All we want is the stuff cleaned up,” Halliday said, adding that he felt the township needed to become more “aggressive.”
Kramer and Halliday agreed that they would have the township attorney look at the situation and advise the town on the best way to proceed.
“On one of those properties – oh, about a year ago – we granted them a variance so that they could build a large pole building with the agreement that he would clean up the yard,” Planning and Zoning Committee Member Tom Searing said. The pole building has been built, he explained, but the yard is still a mess.
Town Clerk Pam Olson said that the 2016 ordinance book includes progressive fines for this kind of behavior.
“If they don’t pay, it goes on their taxes,” she said.
In a short but poignant letter to the board, Bob Beckman resigned as chairman of the Road and Bridge Committee due to “physical condition and limitations.” As Halliday read the letter out loud at the Town Board meeting, he paused, saying: “It is a very sad day. … Obviously, we wish Bob the best.”
As Kramer continued with the rest of the road and bridge updates, there was a catch in his voice. Of the committee, he said: “We could use another member. We will have at least one opening.”