County issues civil citation for nuisance

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     After hashing out a county nuisance issue on Slide Rock Road at their last meeting (July 7), the Jones County Supervisors chose to formally issue a civil citation against landowner Shawn Walker.

     The board gave Walker one more chance to address the nuisance violation with Land Use Administrator Michele Lubben. Walker failed to respond to Lubben’s numerous and various attempts at communication with him (phone calls, mail, and emails).

     “Because of his lack of communication, I think we need to go ahead with a civil citation,” commented Supervisor Joe Oswald.

     “No effort was made (on Walker’s part), and we made every effort to be in contact with him,” added Supervisor Wayne Manternach.

     “He had until 9 a.m. today to respond,” noted Lubben.

     The county asked Walker to provide a list of licensed and unlicensed vehicles sitting around his property, as well as the make and model of each vehicle. Lubben also asked him to identify the structures he planned to remove and a timeframe for completing the project, essentially meeting the requirements.

     “We had a clear message for him last week,” said Manternach.

     Supervisor Ned Rohwedder, who stopped at the property prior to the board meeting, spoke with Walker. Rohwedder urged him to not only address the nuisance, but to appear at the board meeting.

     “He told me he was taking a week off work to clean it up,” noted Rohwedder. “I told him the (current) condition was not acceptable.”

     Rohwedder and Lubben said it appeared as though Walker made some attempt to clean up the area, but still had not met the requirements.

     “When this started, he was adamant that he didn’t want to go to court,” recalled Lubben. “I was willing to give him some time.”

In other county business:

     The board approved the 2020 applications of Homestead Tax Credits, Disabled Veterans Homestead Tax Credits, Military Service Exemptions, and Business Property Tax Credits, as presented by County Assessor Sarah Benter.

     Benter said only a few Business Tax Credits were denied.

     • County Engineer Derek Snead provided an update on the closure of the Old Dubuque Road/Highway 151 intersection.

     Following some correspondence with the DOT, Snead said it appears that the metal gate that was going to be used to block traffic from using the roadway is too large for the intended use. Snead is suggesting the use of a series of barricades to simply block the road off to traffic.

     “The barricades are movable for emergency purposes,” said Snead.

     The safety committee was set to meet on July 17 to further discuss the situation.

     The Anamosa City Council met on July 13 and unanimously approved closing the intersection effective Aug. 3. Snead said the city would be responsible for signage in city limits. The DOT plans to erect two electronic message boards and place them on the highway to warn traffic that the road is closed.

     “Typically the DOT will give a week’s advance notice,” Snead shared. “We talked about giving it two weeks.”

     • The board approved the updated Jones County Multi-Jurisdictional Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, as presented by Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard. This is a five-year plan that allows the county and cities to received FEMA reimbursements.

     • The board approved a fireworks permit for Dan Kiley and the Anamosa School Foundation for an event on Fairview Road on July 18. County Auditor Janine Sulzner said 40 people were expected to be at the event.

     • Sulzner informed the board about correspondence with the organizer of the Anamosa Hill Climb, set for September. The organizers didn’t want to pay for insurance for an event for up to 800 people if the county might deny the gathering permit due to COVID-19 concerns.

     “The majority of the folks coming would not be from Jones County,” commented Rohwedder.

     Community Health Specialist Jess Wiedenhoff said Public Health would review the situation and make a recommendation to the board by their next meeting.

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