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Council hears property concerns

The Mobridge City Council Tuesday, Sept. 10, heard concerns about junk properties, and the vacating an alley on West Grand Crossing.
Mobridge resident Harold Forbes addressed the council about a junk pile on a property on Second Avenue West. The home had been nearly destroyed by fire earlier in the year. The home is partially demolished, but the rubbish from the work is piled on the property. Forbes told the council he is concerned about what is happening.
“There are little kids in the neighborhood,” he said. “Kids like to play on junk piles.”
He said it wouldn’t be long before the mice and rats would move into the junk and the snakes would follow.
“Then you have a real problem,” he told the council.
He asked that they take action to get the property cleaned up before the problem becomes overwhelming. He told the council he had talked to the property owner and it did not go well.
Mobridge Police Chief Shawn Madison told the council the property owner had lost the house and had no insurance and no the financial means to clean up the property. He said the owner was behind on his taxes and was waiting for the county to take property for his lack of payment.
Madison said the Mobridge Police Department’s Police Positive Program is working with the owner to help with the clean-up. He said the owner was meeting with the county to find a solution for the tax problem.

Madison said if they could get the complicated situation worked out., the homeowner plans to tear down the top two stories of the home and repair the bottom story that is still intact.
He told the council the Police Positive Program is currently working with six property owners by providing dumpsters for the rubbish located on the properties, including the Second Avenue West property.
The council members stressed that community clean-up is a slow process and that homeowners needed to work with the city on getting those properties cleaned.
Zoning officer Duane Martin asked why the city does not do the clean-up and add the cost to the assessment as they do when they mow properties. He urged the council to take the next step in this process. He said there were a lot of properties in the community that needed to be addressed.

Tara and Brian Kramer, owners of Gas n Goodies, requested the council to approve vacating the alley between the current store and the property where the former Lowe Clinic stood to the west. They plan on building a new store and adding more gas pumps where the current building stands.
Troy Schilling of West River Telecommunications told the council the coop supports any business that wants to expand to serve the community and serve their customers. Then he asked them to consider a request for a utility easement in order for the coop to have access to the fiber optics and other utilities near the former WRT building on that block. He said closing the public access to that alley would also close the access to those utilities. Schilling also asked that the property owners pay for any movement of the utilities if that becomes a necessity.
Bruce Brekke of MDU told the council he was concerned about the same issues but has had discussion with the Kramers that cleared up those concerns. He said the access would still be there but would under the concrete pad. The request to vacate the alley covered those issues. The Kramers stated in the vacating request that they would pay for any movement of utilities that was required.
Schilling said he would appreciate it if the language of the request was reviewed by the city and coop’s lawyers and be stated legally in the request.
The council agreed and approved the request after it has been reviewed by both entities lawyers and is approved by all parties involved.