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Frustrations mount with apartment building

Mountains of garbage and life safety concerns at a local apartment complex were the hot topic at the Silver Lake City Council meeting Monday, March 16.
City officials have been receiving complaints about the mounting garbage at The Villager Apartments on Grove Avenue.
This is not the first time garbage has been an issue at the Villager. The last reported garbage and blight issue was Aug. 29, 2014, according to a report from Police Chief Forrest Henriksen.
City Clerk Kerry Venier has been in contact with the two property owners and the police department has sent certified letters to the owners.
If the city has to pay to remove the garbage, the cost can be assessed on the property taxes through the county.
Garbage is not the only issue at the Villager. After McLeod County performed a foster care inspection at the property, Fire Chief Dale Kosek was contacted regarding life and fire safety hazards.
Kosek, along with Venier, contacted the city of Glencoe who has had a rental inspection process in place for over 10 years. Retired Glencoe Fire Chief and current City Rental Inspector Bob Scheidt assisted Kosek in performing a life safety inspection at the property.
Some of the more serious concerns were combustibles, such as boxes of clothing and  furniture, in the hallways, smoke detectors with dead or no batteries, missing fire extinguishers, no locks on the front doors, and improperly stored flammables.
Councilor Nolan Johnson, speaking as a private taxpayer, expressed concern about dogs at large from the property and an excess of dog feces in his yard, which is near the Villager.
Venier and Kosek will meet with one or both of the owners in this week to discuss the garbage and safety issues.
The city has blight and nuisance ordinances in place, but no formal rental property ordinance.
The City Council has been working on adopting a formal rental ordinance which would require property owners to register all rental properties, pay a fee, have an initial fire and life safety inspection performed and receive a certificate of occupancy from the city. This would need to be done every couple of years.

For more, see the March 18 print edition of The Chronicle.