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Pine River Council takes action on public safety hazard

At the July 8 regular meeting of the Pine River City Council, the council decided to give a two week ultimatum to the owner of Artisan’s Corner in Pine River: fix the front entryway or we’ll have it done for you.

Building inspector Jeff Melberg of North Country Inspection Services brought the council’s attention to the property because of an awning structure on the front of the building is in a state of disrepair, which constitutes a hazard to those walking on the sidewalk near the building.

“It is definitely a structural safety hazard. It needs to be dealt with as soon as possible,” Melberg said.

Melberg said that the owner has been spoken to in the past, and had contacted local carpenters to have the supports for the awning repaired and brought up to code. The fact that the structure has not yet been repaired prompted the council to seek a solution quickly, before any damage could be done.

“My whole issue is safety. It’s sitting across a public sidewalk, so if it falls the city is going to be liable,” Melberg said.

Pine River Clerk Wanda Mongan suggested that the city could consider giving the owner a notice requesting that action be taken. The notice would include a time limit. If the property owner does not comply within that time limit, the city could then hire professionals to repair the structure and then bill the owner’s taxes for the cost. This option was preferred to having city maintenance workers stabilize the structure, as city workers could incur additional liability.

Mongan suggested the resident be given until the next city zoning and planning meeting to comply. The council agreed.