by Kurt Nesbitt
Elk River city officials revoked a residential rental license for a house on Tipton Circle on Oct. 21.
The unanimous council decision cancels the property owners’ ability to rent the house at 1772 Tipton Circle NW.
The property owners did not return a phone message from the Star News seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.
The Elk River City Council two weeks ago gave city staff permission to proceed with preparing the documents required by city ordinance to revoke the rental license.
The resolution states, in part, that the residential home at 1772 Tipton Circle NW was authorized to be rented and was subject to requirements of city code. Since that license was issued, city staff and members of the public have complained about the operation of the property, the documents said.
City staff presented documents at a council meeting Sept. 16 and again at a public hearing during a council meeting Oct. 7, and after that last hearing, the council asked staff to ready a resolution and findings of fact. That document states that numerous code violations for excess litter, junk and unsheltered storage of junk or inoperable vehicles happened on the property, and that there were repeated police calls for ordinance violations including trash burning, high vehicle traffic and possible drug transactions, among others.
The document said Elk River police assisted the Sherburne County Drug Task Force with a search warrant at the property and arrested the tenant at the house. Court documents said officers seized methamphetamine and other illegal drugs from the home in the raid.
At the Oct. 7 meeting, a neighbor spoke in favor of the city revoking the rental license “due to drug activity and concerns for kid safety in the neighborhood” and was the only person who spoke during that hearing.
Community Development Director Suzanne Fischer said she sees code violations “every day” in Elk River. Most of them are for maintenance-related complaints or for things like junk vehicles on the property, she said.
She said the revocation will last for a year and the owners can re-apply for another license if the issues are resolved.
Planning Manager Zack Carlton said the arrest and ongoing code violations are actually separate issues that came together in this particular situation. He said he doesn’t expect any more items to come to the council. He does expect a letter from an attorney regarding those ongoing violations. He said city staff have been working with the tenant and property owners and that “25%” of the issues remain. He said the issues come in waves that get resolved but then resurface again.
“We want to get it back to the way it was last fall,” he said.