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North Hudson 'problem house' to be razed

After going into closed session on Tuesday, July 2, the North Hudson Village Board voted to raze a house with a history of problems located at 712 Pine St. N. in North Hudson. The village has determined that the property, owned by Randy Krongard, 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 a North Hudson residence.

At that time, building inspector Brian Wert said in a letter to Krongard that the house "...has continued to deteriorate and may be dilapidated to the point that the house is a danger and unsafe for human habitation and a potential fire hazard. In particular, the village has been made aware that you do not have electricity, your roof is in serious disrepair, apparently from rotting, and it appears that wild animals are entering the house and are probably nesting in there."

He also questioned whether the house had running water.

In August of 2012 the village explored purchasing the property and

recommended setting aside $2,000 for potential legal fees if there was resistance to village action regarding the house.

Back in the early 2000s, the village and county dealt with the storage of more than a dozen vehicles, boats and trailers in the yard that were in violation of a village ordinance. When Krongard did not comply in removing the vehicles, the village seized the vehicles. That prompted the threat of a lawsuit from Krongard.

Krongard was also charged in criminal court in April 2000 after he allegedly pulled a gun on an NSP (Xcel) employee. The worker was on his property to cut power to the home because of Krongard's apparent failure to pay his utility bill.

The structure has now been inspected several times and has been found to be uninhabitable. Recent inspections found that nothing is salvageable on the property including the concrete slab on which the property sits.

Voting in favor of razing the home were trustees Paul Rode, Ted Head, Daryl Standafer, Marc Zappa, Colleen Berlund-O'Brien, George Klein and President Stan Wekkin.

Shop project

The village approved a plan to improve sewer, water and roads in the old car shop business area, but left the door open for property owners to bring forward a revised payment plan for half of the road part of the plan.

Under current village ordinances, the village will pay for the all of the sanitary sewer, water main, walking trail repairs and most of the engineering costs. Under the village's current assessment policy, the village and property owners would split the estimated $128,640 cost of the road repair; that amounts to $64,320 to be split among nine property owners. The village is one of the nine owners -- leaving essentially eight private owners. The total estimated cost of the project is just over $460,000.

Under the plan approved at the July 2 board meeting, all nine properties will be assessed the same amount of money -- $7,146.67 per unit of land. Some property owners, however, objected to the assessment plan and said it would be fairer to base the assessment on either road frontage or total square feet of property or some combination of all three.

The board had requested the property owners to submit a proposal before the July 2 meeting, but the deadline was not met. Collin Thorp, owner the Sea-World Properties, spoke on behalf of the property owners at Tuesday's meeting. He listed several reasons as to why the deadline was not met.

"We're not trying to stop the project," Thorp said. "Most of us just want to reconfigure the payment plan."

The owners had attended the June 4 board meeting and the June 18 public works committee meeting. Thorp made a comment about the owners attending the public works committee meeting and inferred that their comments "fell on deaf ears."

The comment drew the ire of Trustee George Klein.

"I take exception to that comment," Klein said. "We turned it back to you and said 'if you don't like our plan, present something.' There were no deaf ears -- no plan was presented."

Thorp said the owners need more time.

The board decided, however, that if they did not approve the projects at Tuesday's meeting, it would possibly delay the projects for another year. The board unanimously approved the projects and the equal payment plan, but did leave the door open for the property owners.

"We need to get the ball rolling," said President Stan Wekkin. "If you can come up with a different owner payment plan, we can still consider it at a later date when we get the final bids."

Voting in favor of the project were trustees Rode, Head, Standafer, Zappa, Berlund-O'Brien, Klein and Wekkin.

Other action

--Approved June non-recurring claims of $46,543.91.

--Approved using Zappa Bros. Inc. to rebuild catch basins at 501 Fourth St. No. and 213 Sommers St. No. at a cost not to exceed $5,855.

--Approved using Zappa Bros. Inc. to repair the storm sewer main in front of 708 Michaelson St. No. at a cost not to exceed $4,875.

--Approved using Scott Construction Inc. to crack seal 27 streets at a cost to not exceed $20,325. In addition, the board approved moving $8,325 from the seal coating budget line item to the crack filling budget line item to cover the costs of the project.

--Approved having Perfection Paving Co. hot patch 28 streets at a cost not to exceed $11,456. In addition, the board approved moving $5,456 from the seal coating budget line item to the hot patch budget line item to cover the costs of the project.

--Approved erecting two signs along the road (just west of Galahad Road N. near Brown's Beach. The signs will read "No parking between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m."

--Approved extended premises requests for Kozy Korner. The approval allows the business to expanded its business into a fenced outdoor area for limited times on specific dates. Approved were July 12 (Nelson Family reunion), July 20 (fifth annual grand opening) and July 27 (1998 Hudson High class reunion).

--Approved a temporary alcohol license for the North Hudson Pepper Festival Inc. The license is effective Aug. 15 through 19 during the annual Pepper Fest celebration.

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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