Owner Tim Pawlik and a representative of his attorneys showed up and tried to convince the council that they had not received notification in time to make the necessary changes before the city made that nuisance declaration. Pawlik blamed the pandemic (and subsequent court closings and delays) on the slower response to cleaning up the site. He also blamed the city for dragging its feet on the process to access a small portion of the property (through an easement) related to its neighboring water tower. The Pawliks paid to tear down the abandoned building (first built by their father) in April 2019, but nothing has changed on the site since.
He also said the city was to blame for drilling a hole in the property near a water main, causing the dangerous situation the city and neighbors cited as the reason for the nuisance: the open basement and foundation that someone could fall into.
“There are some hazards on the property,” Pawlik told the council. “Where the plywood (covering the open basement pit) is…they’ve had an orange cone sitting there forever, and that is an open hole someone can fall into. It’s in the open parking lot; if they walk into it, they will certainly hurt or break their ankle–and that was done by the city.”
City council members were not taking the bait.
“If the Pawliks truly felt they were being good citizens, they would be working with us to make that site look better,” said council member Dean Goldberg. “It’s their property, and there’s a thing called ‘pride in ownership,’ and they don’t have it.”
Goldberg reminded those gathered that plans to redevelop the site first came before the city’s planning and zoning commission more than a decade ago.
Residents also got to weigh in during the public hearing about the nuisance, and none of them had anything supportive to say about the Pawliks or their situation.
“As an eye sore in our community, I personally do not have any faith whatsoever that, if he says he’s going to build something there, is it going to be another 10 or 13 years while we sit with a dump in the neighborhood?” asked Barb Thilgen. “That’s not good for Circle Pines.”
While council members, including Matt Percy, pushed for immediate action, city attorney Shelley Ryan cautioned the panel that the city needed to first craft a specifically-worded resolution. The city council moved to craft a resolution with specific demands for the Pawliks to abate the nuisance components of the property–the open basement and other poles sticking up–that it could vote on at its next meeting on August 24.