Superior’s Public Safety Committee wants to make it easier for police to identify nuisance properties and reach property owners or managers to resolve problems.
The committee is recommending changes to the nuisance premise ordinance that would require a placard on the building with contact information for those responsible for the property.
“This is something similar to what Duluth does for landlords for rental properties,” Superior police officer Bradley Jago said. “We’re not asking for all our rental properties. We’re just asking for those deemed a chronic nuisance to have this placard displayed so our officers see that and see the contact information.”
Jago said an officer approaching a home that it has been deemed a nuisance may not be aware of the declaration.
The ordinance adopted in 2006 was designed to address habitual nuisances in city neighborhoods stemming from offenses like harassment, disorderly conduct, battery, lewd and lascivious behavior, prostitution, theft, receiving stolen property, arson, drug-related offenses, gambling, animal violations, trespassing and weapons violations.
Three or more offenses in one year that result in enforcement action will trigger notification of property owners. They will be required to meet with a team of police officers to resolve the issues. Failure to make that effort can result in fines of $250 to $1,000 for the first offense and $500 to $2,000 for subsequent offenses.
“It’s very rare where we actually have to designate a property a nuisance, but sometimes it does happen,” Jago said. “Currently, there are five on my list that I am monitoring.”
Councilor Craig Sutherland questioned what happens if problem tenants move out and the new tenants are “golden.”
Jago said there is a process to remove the placard once the problem is abated.
“It would help us out, and it would allow us to do some of that problem-oriented policing where we involve some other members of the community, whether that be the landlord or the renters themselves to work against these problems,” Jago said.
“I think this is long overdue,” Councilor Esther Dalbec said.
The council will consider the ordinance change Nov. 4.