Virginia to get tough on some properties – vacant mold infested houses

Action on condemnation process

By BILL HANNA
Executive Editor

August 11, 2009

VIRGINIA — Mayor Steve Peterson said a child on the northside had to be brought to the emergency room a few days ago. The reason, according to the mother: Mold at a house across from Sacred Heart Catholic Church on 12th Street North.

“We’ve got more and more of these in the community and I’m getting tired of it. We need to take action to protect people who live here,” the mayor said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Peterson found plenty of council support to move on condemnation procedures on several dwellings.

Councilor Mike Ralston is chair of a committee on blight and redevelopment that has pulled several agencies and government officials together to work on the problem. There is a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday and Ralston said the St. Louis County Health and Human Services Department will also be contacted to have a representative attend.

But Ralston and other councilors agreed they can take action right away.

“We can get the city attorney to send a letter to the Health Department and copy the owner. It’s a health hazard,” he said.

“We can do this right away,” said Councilor Dennis Lindberg.

Councilor Louis Russo agreed. “We need to expedite it and I’m all for it. There are several of these houses.”

Councilor Nevada Littlewolf said it was “a complicated and difficult problem. How do we prioritize what’s worse?” she asked.

Councilor Dennis Lindberg said the issue had been brought up in the past and the council was “stonewalled by our (city) attorney (Tom Butorac). We need to start condemnation procedures. It’s all over the city. There are houses that are wide open … it’s nuts,” he said. The city attorney was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

Councilor Charles Baribeau agreed that the city needed to look at the “condemnation process.”

“We’d be remiss if we didn’t. I’m ready to send a bulldozer down there,” the mayor said of the house on northside that was connected to the child getting ill.

virginiamn.com

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