Extensions granted for several nuisance properties
The Red Oak City Council participated in three hearings with Red Oak residents regarding nuisance situations at its Dec. 20 meeting.
The first hearing took place between the council and Victor Vukonich, who lives in the 1500 block of North 5th Street. Vukonich received a notice from the city regarding leaves being blown from his property into the street.
City nuisance officer Bill Deitering said he received a complaint that Vukonich had blown leaves from his property across the street to a neighboring property, then later received another phone call on the same subject. A third person, Deitering said, spoke to him about the situation directly two days after he received the phone call.
Vukonich stated the accusations were false, and he had not blown any leaves onto a neighbor’s property. He stated he had blown some leaves that were packed into the gutter into the middle of the street to be picked up by the street sweeper, in order to keep the street’s sole sewer drain clear of debris.
Photographs had been given to the council showing Vukonich blowing the leaves into the street. Councilperson Jeanice Lester said if the other property owners did the same, it would be problematic for the sweeper.
“I know you requested the street sweeper there, but the city’s street sweeper is not designed to pick up everyone’s leaves,” Lester said.
Additionally, the pictures appeared to show Vukonich blowing the leaves from his parking out into the street. Wright said he had received similar complaints of leaves being blown out into the street, and said there was no fine being issued.
“As far as the notice, my understanding is that Deitering issued the warning solely to make Vukonich aware that this could not happen again, and he will not be fined at this time, and to let him know that if it happens again, he could be cited,” Wright said.
Red Oak Mayor Bill Billings echoed the sentiment that the street sweeper didn’t have the capacity to clear the large volume of leaves pictured.
“Based on the large piles of leaves that were created in this picture, there is absolutely no way the street sweeper could pick those up. We don’t have a vacuum on it,” Billings explained.
Vukonich said he was not intentionally attempting to be a nuisance, and he said he was now aware that it has become a problem with some of the people around his neighborhood and he would stay out of the street. No further action was taken by the council regarding the nuisance situation.
The second nuisance hearing was in regards to a home owned by Brandon Strunk in the 900 block of East Reed Street. Strunk had been cited for trees in his yard which were declared a violation of city code.
Strunk had two trees in his front yard that were killed by Emerald Ash Borers. Strunk removed the trees, but asked to be left with stumps for lawn décor. When they were removed, he said they were a bit longer than he intended, but he’d been told the stumps were low enough that they would not be considered topped.
The council members reviewed the pictures, and they and Wright were in agreement that according to city code, they were more than just stumps.
“Unfortunately, I feel like they’re going to need to come down, and the nuisance officer is in agreement, so the question before the council is whether the stumps are allowable, or if they should be removed,” said Wright.
Lester said she felt bad that Strunk was informed differently, but she felt that the stumps needed to be kept to city code. Wright was in agreement.
“If you get the stumps cut down to five feet then I don’t think anyone will complain,” Wright said.
Strunk said he would make the necessary arrangements to shorten the stumps to the five-foot recommended height specified by city code. No further action was taken by the council.
The last nuisance hearing was with Susan Hamilton, regarding her property in the 200 block of South 2nd Street. Hamilton’s notice indicated there needed to be a removal of items, and dense overgrowth needed to be removed.
Hamilton advised the council she had been doing what she could based on her fixed income, and was still searching for a person or persons to assist her. Hamilton was requesting more time to complete the clean-up so she didn’t get a citation that she couldn’t afford.
Lester said the council had been giving 30-day extensions when it came to the clean-up.
“I would suggest that if we grant an extension, that you work with Bill Deitering for the 30 days to keep progress on the clean-up moving forward,” Lester said.
Deitering said he would be open to working with Hamilton, and did say that she had been working on the property for over a year since her initial citations.
The council agreed to a 30-day extension for Hamilton, and urged Hamilton, to provide documentation of the progress being made. The council will review the progress on the property after the extension expires.