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Mayer begins process to clean up hazardous property

Sept. 1, 2008

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

A carpet of shattered glass, old tires, water heaters, and assorted junk surrounds the house.

The doors have been kicked in and all of the windows are broken.

Inside, the walls that have not been destroyed are covered with graffiti and feces. Among the detritus scattered on the floor is evidence of numerous fires that have been started.

This unlikely spot has become a popular hangout in Mayer, and Cpl. Chris Nelson of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office presented a slide show to the city council Monday as evidence to support why the property needs to be cleaned up.

Nelson said he has found people ranging from 10-year-old girls to adult males hanging out at the abandoned property on the northwest corner of the Coldwater Crossing development.

The property is at the end of a long driveway and is obscured by tall weeds and trees.

Nelson said on one recent Friday night, he found about 25 cars parked at the site, and about 40 people having a bonfire party.

Fire is just one concern that Nelson mentioned. He said after the long, dry summer, if a fire at the house were to get out of control, it could threaten nearby residences.

There is also danger for those who frequent the property. Broken glass and boards with rusty nails sticking out of them are abundant outside the house.

Nelson said the house is in hazardous condition, and the grounds. garage, and several outbuildings have become a dumping ground for a wide variety of junk of all kinds, including paint cans, chemicals, rusting metal, broken furniture, appliances, and a the remains of a deer carcass in a plastic bag.

Nelson also said that on three separate occasions he has found people shooting .22 rifles, .45 caliber handguns, and shotguns. He said the shooters were firing the weapons in the direction of the wastewater treatment plant.

The council agreed that the problem needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible.

The council directed Nelson to contact the bank, which is one of the owners of the property, to explain what needs to be done, and see if the owners will voluntarily clean up the site.

At the same time, the council directed City Attorney Dave Hubert to begin the legal process for dealing with a hazardous building. If the owners cannot present an acceptable plan for correcting the problem by the next city council meeting, the council will act on the legal process.

City Administrator Luayn Murphy said she will contact Carver County Environmental Services to see if the county can help with disposal for the piles of old tires on the property.

Prosecution contract approved

Carver County Attorney James Keeler presented a proposed prosecution for 2009.

Under the contract the county attorney’s office prosecutes adult gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and petty misdemeanors.

By statute, the office prosecutes all adult felonies, select adult gross misdemeanors, juvenile delinquencies and civil matters on behalf of Carver County.

Ten cities participate in the contract (Chanhassen is the only city in the county that does not).

Keeler explained that in the past, the county based the contract rate for each city on the last full year of available statistics.

He has changed the formula to use the average over the past three years.

Keeler said the change will ease fluctuations in the contract rate if the city has an unusually high number of cases in a single year.

The change resulted in a lower contract rate for the city for 2009. The new rate is $816.54, compared to $875.20 this year.

The council approved the prosecution contract with the Carver County Attorney’s office.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved a prosecution contract with the Carver County Attorney’s office.

• denied a request to adjust the sewer portion of a water bill for a resident. The bill was higher than normal due to lawn watering, and the council said residents have the option to get a second meter for this purpose.

• approved an off sale liquor license for Mayer Wine and Spirits.

• declined a $50,000 grant from Carver County to install a pervious parking lot at the community center.

The city plans to expand the existing impervious parking lot, and this will cost less than putting in a pervious lot, even with the grant. City Engineer Dave Martini said the grant would be more beneficial to the city if it was putting in a new lot, rather than re-surfacing an existing lot.

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