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Clear Lake homes ordered removed

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
June 16, 2010
— Owners of three flooded lakefront homes at Clear Lake have until December to remove their buildings, officials said this week.

The Milton Town Board voted unanimously Monday to order the homes be razed and removed. The houses have been flooded since waters at Clear Lake rose to unprecedented levels during the floods of 2008.


Joyce Szymberski of the Clear Lake Improvement Association attended the meeting Monday. She said she presented the board a petition from 52 property owners asking for removal of the houses.


For months, the association, a property owners group at the lake north of Milton, has sought to have the submerged houses removed, citing health and safety risks to residents and visitors at the lake.


Under the terms of the town’s raze orders, Szymberski said the property owners must:


-- Remove all personal property from the flooded homes within 30 days.


-- Submit removal plans within 90 days.


-- Complete the removal of the homes by Dec. 31.


Szymberski said the property owners association is willing to help the owners to remove their personal property, to look for funding for removing the buildings and to offer moral support.


One property owner had asked the board to set a winter deadline so ice on the lake would allow easier removal, and that’s why the Dec. 31 deadline was set, Szymberski said.


Town officials and the property owner’s association have been unable to reach the owners of the two other flooded properties, officials said.


Szymberski said owners opposed to the raze order could ask a judge to overrule the town’s decision. That process would require a judge to hold a hearing and to rule on whether the order is reasonable, she said.


It’s not clear if the town would take on the responsibility of removing flooded buildings if the property owners fail to comply with the raze orders.


“There’s really no answers to it. That’s something we’d approach at the time it happens,” town board member Leonard Stalker told the Gazette.


Stalker said the board continues to work with its attorney on details of the raze orders.


“The township’s got the authority to do (the removals), but it would be an expense that the township does not have budgeted. Hopefully, it don’t come to that,” he said.


Gazette reporter Frank Schultz contributed to this report.

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