Alderman Dan McFadden asked Spring Valley City Council not to continue to open a “can of worms.”
Monday night, as the city was about to approve the purchase of its second piece of vacant property downtown that will soon be demolished at the city’s expense, McFadden asked what would be done with other vacant properties which are close to or in disrepair.
McFadden said some of the buildings have become a public health risk and have fences around them or doors boarded up by the city to keep people from getting hurt.
“My point is at what point do you step in and say ‘Wait a minute, we got to do something about this building,’” he said.
“We all know what is going to come out of this. We are going to end up tearing them down,” said alderman Chuck Hansen.
McFadden said he didn’t want to see it get to that point and wanted the city to try and encourage owners to fix up the buildings without the city stepping in when it was too late.
Mayor Walt Marini said the city could start sending the city building inspector into questionable buildings for an inspection. City attorney Jim Andreoni said the city did have the right to do that and could fine the building owners, but it might not inspire action.
“If the owner of the property does not have the financial ability to fix it up, then we can’t ask to have it demolished unless we can prove that the cost of repair exceeds its fair market value,” he said.
Alderman Michael Herrmann agreed with McFadden and hoped the city could motivate owners to get some of the properties fixed up before they are abandoned.
The council will discuss the matter further at the public health and safety committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10.
During the meeting Monday, the council approved a purchase contract with Central Real Estate Holdings LLC for the property at 202 E. St. Paul St. for $1 with alderman McFadden abstaining.
* The council will also hold a financial and legislative committee meetings at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10.
* The council approved moving its next meeting to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 instead of Monday due to Presidents Day.