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Judge says village order to raze North Hudson house was proper

Judge Scott Needham ruled that it is up to Randy J. Krongard to show that the village of North Hudson’s order to raze his house is unreasonable.

Krongard had asked the county court for a restraining order preventing the village from tearing down his house at 712 Pine St. North, Hudson.

According to the judge’s decision, state law allows a governing body to order an owner to raze a building if the governing body determines the structure is “old, dilapidated, or out of repair and consequently dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation and unreasonable to repair…” Repairs are considered unreasonable if the cost would be more than half the assessed value.

In his discussion, the judge pointed out that Krongard filed a lawsuit against his insurance company saying the house “is no longer habitable or fit to live in, and is deteriorating, dilapidated and falling down. The personal property and interior of the house is covered with black mold and wet and dry rot and the ceilings are caving in.”

Therefore, said the judge, Krongard has acknowledged that the house is dangerous and unsafe. Also the village building inspector estimated that repair costs would be more than half of assessed value.

The combination of those statements and opinions “create a presumption that the raze order was reasonable,” concluded the judge.

After going into closed session on July 2, the North Hudson Village Board voted to raze the home. The village determined that the property is dilapidated and deteriorated to the point that it is unfit for habitation and the cost to repair the structure would not be reasonable.

Problems with the property and neighbor complaints go back more than a decade. In November 2011 the Village Board took action to force the repair and cleanup of the house.

In August Krongard filed suit against the village of North Hudson and Brian Wert (doing business as Brian Wert Inspection Agency) in an attempt to stop the village’s effort to raze the house.

Doug Stohlberg

Doug Stohlberg has been part of the Hudson Star-Observer since 1973 and has been editor since 1987. He worked at the New Richmond News from 1971 to 1973. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

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