Dassel acts to remove two abandoned trailers at Todd St.

March 10, 2008

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The Dassel City Council authorized law enforcement officials last Monday to begin the process to pull out two abandoned trailers in the Todd Court mobile home park for health and safety reasons.

The two trailers are filled with cats and debris, reek from cat urine, and have no utilities. They have been abandoned for at least six months, according to Meeker County Deputy Gordie Prochaska.

The council directed Prochaska to serve papers to the mobile home court owner, LuAnn Denman of Eden Prairie, and the owners of the two trailers, No. 6 and No. 23. After they are served the official papers, the owners will have 30 days to respond.

Then, Prochaska will have the trailers pulled out of Dassel at no cost to the city, he said.

The city chose the Hazardous Building process, instead of condemnation proceedings, because it is much faster. Condemnation takes six months to a year, City Administrator Myles McGrath said.

Prochaska showed council members photographs of the interiors of the two trailers. Both have numerous cat tracks leading to the underside of the trailers. The ceiling is caving in on one that is unlocked. There are piles of debris in the living room, no furnace, and all the dishes were left in the sink, Prochaska said.

The locked trailer also smells like cat urine. It has a hole in the floor. Cats have been dragging in dead birds. When the weather warms up, the smell will intensify, he said.

More rodents will be attracted to the trailers, and that will bring more feral cats, McGrath said.

Prochaska said he is worried children might get into the trailer with the collapsed ceiling, and the roof of the trailer will cave in on them.

Prochaska also said he knows where the individuals are who own the trailers, so it won’t be a problem to locate them. One lives with his parents in the country, and the other has frequently been seen within the city limits, he said.

The city attorney is currently preparing the official documents for removing the two trailers, McGrath said.

In other mobile home news, the planning and zoning commission continued its Feb. 26 hearing to amend the city’s commercial zoning ordinance to Monday, March 10 at 7 p.m. In addition to making light manufacturing allowed in a commercial zone with a conditional use permit, the commission wants to remove mobile home parks from C-2 zoning districts, according to McGrath in the administrator items agenda.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• postponed making a decision on the conditional use permit for Rosalind Ewald, at her request, because she was unable to attend the city council last Monday. Ewald applied for a permit to build a 48-unit assisted living facility in a commercial zone at the intersection of Highways 12 and 15. The council will consider the application at the next council meeting, Monday, March 17.

• approved a request from Connie Walters of Thirsty’s Tavern and Dassel firefighter Doug Bollman to close off the 200 block of Atlantic Avenue Saturday, June 21 for a dance to raise money for the fire department’s relief fund. Local bands will play together. The event also might include a water ball fight, a dunk tank, and Old Time music, Walters said.

• considered having a Dassel Clean Up Day either April 26 or May 17. Waste Management provided some estimates for how the city could conduct the event. Waste Management could supply a 30-yard drop box. The city would be charged $45 a ton and a $175 hauling charge.

On the other hand, Waste Management could provide curbside pick up. The city would be charged $67.50 per hour. Electrical appliances, such as computers or printers, could be collected for 39 cents a pound. Appliances containing freon, such as refrigerators and freezers, could be collected for $20 each. Non-freon appliances, such as stoves and washing machines, could be collected for $17 each, McGrath said.

Collecting appliances might be coordinated with Cokato’s clean up day.

Also, curbside pick up usually is the more successful of the two, McGrath said.

None of the details have been ironed out, so McGrath said he will present more information at the next council meeting.

• heard a report from Public Works Director Dave Scepaniak that he spray-painted the timbers in the railroad crossings at Third and Fourth Streets, took photographs of them, and sent them to the city’s contact at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. The contact can then show the railroad officials what needs to be repaired, he said.

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