LAKEVILLE, Minn. - A Twin Cities homeowner has a problem next door that she has felt powerless to correct -- a home in foreclosure.
The house on 202nd Street West has been neglected for more than a month, since a June 19 storm damaged several trees in front of the house and destroyed part of a large silver maple in its back yard. The tree is spread across about half of the yard, Cynthia Doudrick said.
The rest of the tree is still standing on the edge of the property, threatening the Doudrick's residence, should it fall.
Doudrick contacted Kare 11 via Facebook to plead her case.
"I called the city (of Lakeville). The city said it is not their responsibility, call the county (Dakota),"explained Doudrick. "So, I called the county and they told me to call the city. I told them, they told me to call you!"
County officials told Doudrick to call the present owners of the property, which was sold in foreclosure in January. The PNC Bank of Pittsburgh bought the property in a sheriff's sale.
"I tried to call them. I sent them an email and I have left a couple of voice mail messages," said Doudrick.
KARE 11's Allen Costantini also tried to contact the PNC Bank, but has received no response to his inquiries by voice mail.
Lakeville Community and Economic Development Director David Olson admitted to Costantini that the receptionist at Lakeville City Hall erred in sending Doudrick to the county for help.
He insisted that situation has been corrected. He also explained that there is a legal procedure for the city to intervene.
Once the owner of the property, in this case the bank, has been established, the city contacts the owner and gives them 10 days to two weeks to cleanup the property. If no action has been taken, the city can then hire contractors to remove the downed tree and restore the property.
The cost of the cleanup can then be added to the tax assessment on the property, Olson said. He said that although the city will eventually recover the cost, there can be a "cash flow" problem, since the contractors must be paid immediately.
Olson indicated that the city's building inspector would examine the property within a few days.
Doudrick said she "definitely goes to the basement" whenever there are storms now, since she fears the remaining section of the silver maple might topple onto her house.
Meanwhile, Doudrick wanted the downed tree to be removed and the grass trimmed.
"I am concerned with (the possibility of) snakes or rats and I am just concerned with how it looks. We take care, take pride in our house. (I am) just concerned living next to a foreclosed home. I know that can lead to all kinds of issues, even crime," said Doudrick.
The former owner of the house, contacted by Costantini, said he tried to keep the grass cut and neat, even after the foreclosure sale, but the toppled trees made that impossible.
According to Olson, there are 300 home foreclosures, on average, each year in Lakeville.
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