Nuisance Lots Cost the City of Mpls. Thousands to Maintain

Updated: 06/05/2014 7:30 PM
Created: 06/05/2014 3:00 PM
By: Todd Wilson

The City of Minneapolis names 152 properties that it considers vacant "overgrown" lots. The grass and weeds are tall and the properties are not taken care of. Two-thirds of the lots, 102 to be exact, are located in North Minneapolis neighborhoods...

Karen Albrecht says painting her house is her way of keeping the neighborhood looking good. "So, the rest of the neighborhood should look just as nice," she commented.

Albrecht says throughout her community there are abandoned houses and even more overgrown lots. She says over the years people have gotten lax in taking care of their properties. Albrecht points to two yards just down the block from her.

Folks on the north side say this is ridiculous and the city should take care of it. Kenneth Walker agrees with that thinking.

"It's an eyesore in the community," Walker said.

But hold on, the city may not even own the land. An individual, a bank, Community Planning Economic Development or the county could own the lots.

"Property owners of any lot that's located in this city are responsible to cut their grass and pick up any debris that's in the yard," City of Minneapolis Housing Inspections Manager JoAnn Velde said.

She says the list of neglectful landowners is long. Remember the two pieces of land they are privately owned.

To clean up nuisance lots the city contracts with several businesses. The city had two contractors in 2013 and has one this year. Seventy percent of the money the city spends, they do get back when they assess the property owners.

Albrecht says the abandoned houses and overgrown lots have cost the area dearly.

"I think the neighborhood has gone down hill a lot," she said.

Here's some useful info you will need if you have an overgrown or debris filled lot. First, call 311 to report the problem. From there they will find out the owner of the property and notify them to clean it up. If they don't do it in a timely manner the city will do it and bill the owner.

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