Town to clean up properties

Homeowners will be billed for nuisance abatement

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Oak Creek moved one step closer to getting rid of dangerous and abandoned private properties that are in violation of the town's nuisance ordinance Thursday night .

The Oak Creek Town Board authorized Code Enforcement Officer Linda Koile to start gathering bids to have the town clean up at least four properties where the owners have not responded to certified letters asking them to take care of the nuisances themselves. The property owners will be billed for the town's work and failure to pay for the cleanup automatically will place a lien on their property taxes, Koile said.

"These are classic eyesores," Koile said of the properties in question.

Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman and the other trustees agreed with Koile that taking action on the abatement process is long overdue. The properties under scrutiny have been in disrepair for many years, if not decades, Rodeman said.

"The follow through just has not been there," Rodeman said. "Several different boards have been through this over and over."

Koile and the Town Board are using the "1997 Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings," which the Oak Creek Town Board adopted May 5, 2000, to guide them through the lengthy abatement process. Koile is receiving technical support from Carl Dunham of the Routt County Regional Building Department.

The uniform code lists 18 conditions and defects that can deem a property suitable for condemnation. Among the listed conditions and defects are properties damaged by fire, properties that are likely to collapse because of deterioration or decay, and properties determined by the health officer to be unfit for human habitation and likely to cause sickness or disease.

"These are not unreasonable requests," Koile said.

Two local property owners have indicated they are in the process of cleaning up their land, but the four out-of-town owners who were sent certified letters more than a month ago have been unresponsive to the town's requests, Koile said.

"I'm going to move forward. I want our town cleaned up," Koile said. "This is such a beautiful area. Let's clean it up and let it shine."

-- To reach Jennie Lay call 871-4210

or email jlay@steamboatpilot.com.

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