Winsted gives Ulland deadline on replacing nuisance roof

November 26, 2007

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Not shy about talking about his plight with blight, Sam Ulland, Winsted property owner, appeared before the Winsted City Council Tuesday evening.

This time his blight issue was the cedar roof on his building at 163 Main Avenue West.

According to a letter sent to Ulland by the city building inspector, Rob Beckfeld, Oct. 8, and an additional letter sent to Ulland by the city Oct. 19, Ulland was told the entire roof of his property at Main Avenue has been declared a public nuisance. All shingles and roofing materials were to be removed and replaced within 60 days.

Ulland was given the opportunity to appeal the city’s decision and spoke to a very patient council telling the council that the shingles from his roof were light, like feathers, and not as dangerous as if it were broken glass falling from his building.

Ulland told the council he had already bought some of the materials for his roof. He also told the council, “whatever needs to get fixed, I will fix it. The roof doesn’t leak.”

On numerous occasions throughout Ulland’s appeal, council members Dave Mochinski, Tom Ollig and Mayor Steve Stotko asked Ulland when he thought he would be able to complete the roofing.

Ulland ignored the question sometimes. Other times, he would respond with answers like, “I could have it repaired tomorrow,” and “I will have the roof repaired in one week.”

The council ended Ulland’s appeal by officially declaring the roof at 163 Main Avenue is a public nuisance and ordered it to be repaired by Monday, Dec. 17.

Ulland’s previous blight charge is dismissed

Ulland had been charged with one count of blight filed against him by the City of Winsted.

The first court date was scheduled for July 24.

Although the blight had been removed in compliance with the city’s request, it was removed after the city’s deadline, and the council’s stand was firm when a possible stay of adjudication was considered.

The last court date was Nov. 13. McLeod County Judge Michael Savre ruled on Ulland’s motion to dismiss the blight charge because he had complied with a letter sent to him by City Attorney Mike Long June 11. At that time, Long indicated to Ulland that if he got the property cleaned up prior to the trial date in July, the matter would be resolved.

Long had sent the letter to Ulland, not understanding that the City of Winsted still wished to prosecute.

Long told the council in a letter dated Nov. 15, that he was just guessing, but believed that one of the reasons why Judge Savre dismissed the case was the expense of a jury trial for taxpayers.

Again, Long pointed out that he was only guessing but believed Savre was not going to go to such an expense when the property had already been cleaned up.

Treatment of Winsted Lake curlyleaf pond weed

One of the 2007 goals of the city council was to help the Winsted Lake Watershed Association (WLWA) improve the quality of Winsted Lake.

The WLWA voted at its November meeting to chemically treat the curleyleaf pond weed to keep it from taking over a much larger portion of the lake.

The WLWA asked the City of Winsted to support the lake association by paying for one third of the chemical expense to remove the weed. The WLWA will pay for one third, and the shoreline owners will pay for one third.

The WLWA hired Lake Restoration, Inc., to do a GPS mapping of where the weed is located in the lake. From this mapping, the WLWA found the entire perimeter of the lake contains curlyleaf pond weed along with the shallow rock pile area located on the eastern portion of the lake.

It is estimated that the offshore infected area (from dry land out to 150 feet) has 32.6 acres infected. The onshore infected area (3,300 feet of shoreline) has about 67 acres infected.

The WLWA is estimating that the DNR will probably allow only about 15 acres offshore and 11 acres onshore to be treated. It will only approve removing a portion of the weeds, because some weeds are good for fish populations.

The WLWA made a request to the DNR for a permit to use chemicals to treat the lake. It is waiting to hear from the DNR on its decision.

The chemical to be used will be used in the spring. According to vice president of the WLWA, Dale Maus, the chemical has no harmful side effects to fish and is environmentally safe. Because it is to be applied in the spring, it will not interfere with swimming.

Holy Trinity plans community gardens

The city of Winsted initiated a comunity garden program designed to involve and eduate youth in government and community service. Students from Holy Trinity presented three community gardens, they will be responsible for planting in Mill Reserve Park.

Under the direction of Lois Danielson, Holy Trinity advanced biology teacher, three separate groups of students presented the council with their plans for each of their gardens.

The presentations were detailed and well thought out, and the council approved $1,250 to be used for the three gardens.

In addition, Holy Trinty students raised $1,419 from city residents to pay for the remaining cost of the gardens for Mill Reserve Park.

Another $1,250 has been set aside for another community garden project in Hainlin Park that will be done by the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted students.

Odds and Ends

In other business, the council:

• scheduled a public hearing for Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. to consider an ordinance for the airport commission. Currently there is not an ordinance in the municipal code book for the airport commission and its function.

• approved the city removing snow from private properties located on the east side of First Street North between Main Avenue and Winsted Avenue.