Frustration with Zimmerman property on Chestnut St. grows

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Eric Eggers, a Monticello homeowner on N. Chestnut Street, was back at the Monticello City Council meeting to see where the city stood on the incomplete home on the Zimmerman lot, across from Eggers’ property.

     Eggers was last at the council meeting in early August, posing the same question, with no solution. Again, the council and city did not have a definitive answer for Eggers.

     “There is no course of action on the property being built like they said it would be,” noted Mayor Brian Wolken. “We took the contractor at his word; we will have a lot more boxes to check if this happens again.”

     Eggers brought photos of the Zimmerman property to the council meeting, noting the public safety hazards with rebar sticking up all over the place. The city also requested a fence around the property to keep people and kids out. In Eggers’ estimate, the fence, which is falling down in places, is pretty “lame.”

     “It’s halfway down and not all the way around the property,” he said. “It’s just in front.”

     Eggers said they also sprayed Roundup all around the property as a way to keep from mowing the weeds.

     “My main concern is that it’s an open pit,” he said. “They put in the footings and just stopped. There are hundreds of rebar sticking straight out of the ground with a 4-foot drop-off. If kids get in there, is the city liable?”

     Council member Tom Yeoman said the city does not hold liability against the property.

     He said water has also been pooling, attracting mosquitos.

     “I’m not an OSHA expert, but if someone were to call them, they’d be interested in this,” continued Eggers.

     He reminded the city that Al Hughes’ house, which once sat on the same property, caught fire four and a half years ago.

     “It’s high time the city council takes some action to do something,” he urged. “I expect this to be addressed and fixed. I have to look at this mess, and so do the neighbors every single time we leave our homes.”

     Wolken said he’s been discussing the matter with Police Chief Britt Smith in terms of issuing city code and nuisance violations. He also informed the council that the building permit timeframe, approved for this particular project, as lapsed, and the owner has been notified.

     “I know it’s not a fast resolution,” offered Wolken. “We all wish it (the house) was built.”

     Eggers asked if the city had safety violations in place. Wolken said the nuisance violations, for now, encompass the safety issues.

     “We’ve been working on this property for 12 to 15 years now,” commented Council member Dave Goedken. “It was a nuisance before it was built.”

     Wolken said the city is also losing tax dollars every year the lot sits empty.

     “We share your concerns,” Wolken told Eggers. “But we don’t have any answers for you tonight.”


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