Salem City Council at stalemate regarding nuisance properties

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Nuisance properties continue to plague the Salem City Council agenda.

Years of discussion surrounding Dillon Haynes? property at 205 W. Van Buren St. in particular led Chris Feehan to plead with the council to make a plan.

?I?m tired of looking at it every month,? Feehan said during the Salem City Council meeting on Wednesday, June 6.

Feehan said she and council member Mary Hoyer met privately to discuss how the council can take a cooperative, proactive approach to nuisance properties rather than discussing them one by one each month.

Feehan, who has been in touch with both churches in Salem, suggested collaborating with the churches to put together volunteer groups that can help clean up properties for the elderly or people who are unable to do it themselves.

?It seems pretty clear we should be proactive rather than adversarial if at all possible,? Hoyer added.

Feehan also shared that she visited Haynes on his property earlier this month, and he showed her the two or three cars on his property, tires and other automobile parts he collects.

The city was pursuing a building permit agreement with Haynes to build a fence around his property; however, he requested the city promise never to bring a nuisance abatement action against him again.

?At some point, we?ve got to stop this monthly bickering and come to an agreement of what?s reasonable,? Feehan said.

City Attorney Pat Brau was to draft up an agreement for Wednesday?s meeting between the city and Haynes for Haynes? lawyer to take a look at, but he has yet to do so.

Feehan wants to see Haynes and other property-owners pursuing building permits be given specific deadlines on their permits so 10 years down the road, there aren?t viable building permits floating in the community.

Building permits approved Wednesday for a utility shed at 103 S. Monroe St. and a pond at 603 E. Jackson do have deadlines attached.

In other news, the council approved reimbursing Carol Kennedy $200 for the work she does planting flowers in the city park. Hoyer thanked Kennedy for not just buying and planting the flowers, but continuing to care for and water them throughout the summer months.

?The town looks entirely different because of the work she does,? Hoyer said.

Kennedy was reimbursed $200 last year as well.

The council also added ?feral cats? to the agenda under new business by Hoyer, but tabled the discussion for a later time.

Before the council wrapped up their meeting, the public expressed frustration that the council was not following the agenda during time for public comments. The complaints included the council jumping from item to item, not bringing unresolved issues back to the table and the council picking and choosing what ordinances to enforce.

The next Salem City Council meeting is Tuesday, July 3.