Police to enforce junk, blight ordinance

NEW ULM – Police are stepping up enforcement of public protection ordinances throughout New Ulm.

Police will be surveying residential, commercial and industrial properties for potential public protection ordinance violations, specifically those that fall under chapter 8 section 6.63 of the City Code. This section deals with junk or blight related materials on public or private property other than a zoned junkyard that is not housed in a lawfully building such as a shed.

Items considered junk include unlicensed, unregistered, or inoperable vehicles, trailers, or recreation vehicles; intact or partially intact household furnishings or appliances. The section also extends to pieces of building materials that are not part of a structure, sidewalk, driveway or curb.

The press release from the Police Department states these violations might seem minor but could pose safety/health threats. A stack of tires could provide a habitat for mosquitoes or rodents which in turn could spread disease. Loose building materials could also lead to personal injury if left out in the open.

Officers will be observing violations from an area of public view over the next three months starting in mid April.

Sergeant Jay Backer explained the Police Department has done this seasonal enforcement for the last five years. Compliance with the ordinance previously belonged to building inspection, but it was taken over by the police because it is a legal issue.

Backer estimated the department issues between 50 and 75 warnings each year.

According to City Code any violation deemed a nuisance is given seven days’ written notice before the City removes the items and places a special assessment on the property for removal costs.

On average the Police Department has 90 percent compliance following the notice.

Backer said that at this time officers have observed properties in New Ulm that are in violation, but they will have until mid April before submitting a notice.

For more detailed description of prohibited items a complete list is available on the City of New Ulm website.