Hennepin Keeps Tabs on Deteriorating Properties

Hennepin Village Board put on hold a plan to acquire and demolish an abandoned, deteriorating, neglected house.

Last week, village trustee Quinton Buffington questioned a village plan to buy an older ranch-style house, where owners had ignored fines, threats and $100 village lawn-mowing bills.

Village President Kevin Coleman favored condemnation, demolition and then resale of the lot.

Buffington questioned setting a precedent of the city spending perhaps $10,000 to buy a dilapidated house, then $10,000 to tear it down and then perhaps not being able to sell the lot for $10,000.

Buffington expressed concern if a trend developed where people stop taking care of properties, the city spends money to purchase and demolish it, and then can’t recoup losses.

Attorney Sheryl Kuzma had drawn up an ordinance for the village to allow the village to proceed, and she said usually the owners, or the bank if the property is in foreclosure, will just turn the property over to the city or village.

“It sends a message to other owners in the community that we are fed up with people not taking care of their property,” Kuzma said.

Village trustee Paul Goetz said in one nearby community, a couple of properties became so neglected that rats infested them. He said rats then got into to well-cared-for homes in the neighborhood and people started moving out. He said he’d hate to see anything like that happen in Hennepin,

Coleman said there are two or three other neglected properties in town, and if the village takes action, maybe the owners will get the message. Buffington suggested more fines and dragging the owners into court, but Coleman said that doesn’t always work.

Goetz said before acquiring a property, the village should get a low-priced quote from someone willing to handle demolition. Goetz likes Coleman’s idea.

“If you want something to look good, you’ve got to spend some money,” Goetz said.

Source: News Tribune