Sat, July 20

Vagrants, drugs to be swept up
City issues abatement action on Old Town building

The Cottonwood City Council Tuesday approved an abatement action for an apparently dormant building right in the middle of Old Town where vagrants are thought to be living and methamphetamine is possibly being manufactured.

The property is located at 926 N. Main St.

According to a staff report from Community Development Director George Gehlert, "In staff's opinion, the situation constitutes a 'dangerous condition,' as defined by the Municipal Code Š For many months, the building has appeared dormant, with piles of debris stockpiled in the rear yard behind a fence that has been breached for easy access by vagrants."

The community development department deemed the building unsecured and a potential fire hazard. Fire officials agreed.

The manufacturing of meth or other drugs was also presumed.

Building Official Joseph Steinke said the council's approval of the abatement action means city crews can now enter the premises and clean it up at the owner's cost. A lien can be placed on the property for reimbursement of the $1,500 to $2,000 in estimated expenses.

A notice to abate was sent to the property owner, a Scottsdale woman, on March 2. The property owner acknowledged the receipt of the notice March 3, but no further contact was received by the city until the day of the council meeting.

On that day, the property owner indicated she would hire a cleanup crew, according to the community development department.

Steinke hopes, for her sake, she will since it will cost her more money for the city to do the work.

Plans are to clean the area and tear down the breached rear fence so police can easily drive by and make sure vagrants are no longer using the building for a campsite.