Neighbors want private property cleaned up
A Chilcoot man said he shot 14 pack rats because of a neighbor’s trash-heaped property, and offered to clean up the mess himself if the county would provide a Dumpster.
But he probably won’t have to do that.
Building Official John Cunningham appeared before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on May 7 and asked for permission to seek proposals to abate the property.
The 5.2-acre parcel is located close to the eastern boundary of the county, on the south side of Highway 70. It is accessed via a dirt road.
In November 2009 the county removed 19 inoperative vehicles from the site after Plumas County Superior Court issued a default judgment. Cunningham said that the high price of scrap metal offset the county’s removal costs.
The two individuals who were living on the property have since left, leaving behind mounds of trash and junk.
Neighbors said the garbage has led to a rat infestation, which in turn has attracted snakes.
In addition to the heaps of garbage, there are a few vehicles, camper shells and a truck, which are also stuffed with garbage. Photos also show bicycles, a ladder, tires and mounds of other items.
Back property taxes are owed and county Treasurer Julie White said it would be included in next year’s tax sale if those taxes aren’t paid. A minimum bid for the taxes owed, which total approximately $5,000, would be set.
“Can we put if up for tax sale as it is?” Supervisor Sherrie Thrall asked.
Supervisor Jon Kennedy asked if the county could finance the cleanup and then recoup the cost when the property sold.
County Counsel Craig Settlemire said that a lien could be put on the property.
“Is this a $40,000 abatement?” Kennedy asked.
Cunningham said that he thought the cost would be approximately $5,000 to $10,000 and there didn’t appear to be hazardous materials on the site. If there are, costs could be much higher.
Board Chairman Terry Swofford asked if Cunningham had approached Ricky Ross of InterMountain Disposal for assistance.
Public Works Director Bob Perreault said the situation could be treated as a special project and he would work with Ross.
Cunningham said that some counties offer coupons to help with abatement. He said that property owners often have the will but not the financial ability to pay for abatement.
County Treasurer Roberta Allen, who is also responsible for risk management, asked who would be liable if hazardous materials were found.
Cunningham said that “while sanitation was not their strong suit,” he didn’t anticipate any hazardous waste since the use had not been industrial.
The supervisors authorized Cunningham to put out a request for proposals, but not to exceed $1,000 in the process.