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Abby files complaint against store addition

Abbotsford’s city administrator has filed a complaint with the state regarding a recent addition onto a commercial building that did not appear to meet code.

At the city council’s Dec. 18 meeting, Dan Grady said he contacted a state agency about a business on STH 13, Abarrotes La China Mexican Store, which recently built an addition without first obtaining a building permit.

“The city believes the matter of construction is unsafe and does not meet state code,” Grady wrote in a complaint submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Division of Legal Services and Compliance.

Grady said a state inspector will visit the site, and if he finds that the addition violates building codes, the inspector could order the business to tear it down.

This latest development came after Grady asked police chief Jason Bauer to try and halt the construction while it was still in progress. Grady said police told the business owners twice to stop construction, but they ignored his warnings.

The city’s complaint points out that the business owners turned in an incomplete permit application and were told they needed to get state-approved or engineer/ architect-approved plans.

Ald. Jim Weix said he supported the decision to pursue action through a state inspector.

“I don’t want to deny anybody the right to run a business, but they have to stay within the parameters of the law,” he said.

Grady filed the complaint on Dec. 13, so he expects the state inspector to come sometime after the holidays.

A voicemail message seeking comments for this article was left for the owners Abarrotes La China Mexican Store, but no one responded for press time.

A state inspector and a structural engineer will also be asked to look at other commercial buildings in the city that present health or safety concerns, Grady said. One of those buildings has mold issues that may also be reported to the county health officer, Grady said.

Grady said he has also contacted the person who currently handles residential building inspections for the city. That inspector, Bob Christensen, works for the city of Medford and also does inspections for other area municipalities so he is not always available right away to do work in Abbotsford.

As a possible alternative, Grady said he has also spoken to the city of Wausau, which he said is willing to provide inspection services for a fee. He said the prices would have to be agreed to before the city goes that route.

Last week’s conversation was a followup to previous discussion at the council’s Dec. 2 meeting, when DPW Craig Stuttgen presented the council with pictures of shoddy construction projects and dilapidated older buildings.

Stuttgen said he does not want to continue being responsible for signing off on building permits, so the council agreed that the city should start looking for a new building inspector, with the goal of hiring one at the Jan. 6 meeting.

Other business

_ Grady told the council that the city’s contract with Cintas, a company that provides floor mat services at city hall, will expire on Feb. 28. He said the city is not going to renew the contract and will instead purchase its own floor mats that can be pressure-washed by the public works crew. He said the cost for larger mats is $80 or more, but that’s still cheaper than Cinta’s $125 monthly fee.

_ The council accepted a $1,960 labor quote from Vertiv, which will be installing a new screen and doing other repairs to a specialized computer at the Eau Pleine water treatment that keeps the ultraviolet disinfection system going in case of a power outage.

Utility operator Josh Soyk said the computer screen has stopped working, and the city needs to get it fixed to meet DNR regulations. New parts are expected to cost $1,995, so the total cost is going to be around $4,000.

_ The council approved the purchase of two new water pumps from Crane Engineering, at a cost of $7,742. Soyk said the city previously purchased two other new pumps at the start of this year, so by early 2020, all four of the pumps at the water treatment plant will be new.

_ The council approved the purchase of 30 new electrodes used to create ozone out of oxygen at two of the city’s water treatment plants. At $100 per electrode, the cost will be $3,000.

When asked about future repair and replacement at the city’s treatment facilities, Soyk confirmed that more expenses will be coming before the council for approval, but he currently has $149,000 in the water utility’s plant repairs budget.

_ The council approved a change to the city’s snowmobile route map in the area south of East Spruce Street. The new route will lead snowmobiles north along the southern stretch of Seventh Street, across one block of Linden, and one block of Sixth leading to Elm. The trail will then cross near the Dycora nursing home headed toward Spruce Street.

The new route will also allow snowmobiles to cross Galvin Road just north of Elm Street and go north on Eleventh Street toward East Spruce.

Grady said the changes were requested by the local snowmobile club, as riders are now allowed to drive down Spruce Street (Business 29).

_ The council approved a $25 chamber of commerce gift certificate for each city employee as a Christmas gift.

_ The council held a brief discussion about possibly switching back to a committee system instead of having a committee of the whole once a month. No action was taken.

_ The council approved a total of $198,600 in monthly bills.

_ The council convened into closed session to discuss negotiations with landowners along West Spruce Street, who the city is purchasing land easements from as part of next year’s Safe Routes to School construction project.