Disagreements tense up Cloverdale meeting
CLOVERDALE -- Town officials were recently met with disputes and little in the way of trust between some residents in Cloverdale.
Two issues which where brought up at the Cloverdale Town Council’s regular meeting last week were centered on Don Gedert, who is the developer of the Stardust Hills subdivision.
The first issue was brought up by resident Jean Meador concerning the apparent state of disrepair of a trailer at 16 Stardust Way. Meador related how her late husband had filed a complaint with the Stardust Hills Homeowners Association that it was affecting property value. She said further that no action had been taken on Gedert’s part since Mr. Meador turned in the complaint last October.
“That place has become an eyesore, and it’s right across the street from me,” Meador said. “It’s a dump, and I want to know if it can be taken down since Don won’t seem to do anything about it.”
Meador began her comment by asking the council if there was a “statute of limits” on a property being deemed uninhabitable before it can be demolished. Meador made a point that the trailer has been vacant since September of 2017, and that Gedert retains ownership of the home and should have an obligation to fix it.
Town Attorney Daniel Hofmann stated that he was not aware of the property being cited or brought to the attention of the council. However, he said that the town had handled several demolitions in recent months and was trying to take them one-by-one.
“The town will have to make a determination on the time that it will take,” Hofmann said. “However, the first step is to cite it (the home), that way we can consider what to do next.”
Councilman Greg Jay added to Hofmann’s comments on the council’s stake in the process, saying that demolitions are a process and “were not gonna happen overnight.”
“We’re moving them in on a regular basis now, and it’s going to take time to get to all of them. We probably still can do only five at a time if we continue the trend we’re on.”
Gedert himself did not take to Meador’s assertion that he was not holding up his end as the property owner by either repairing or demolishing it. This came in acknowledging that her husband had brought the issue up, but that he could only do so much at a time.
“Some properties which I have to maintain have to take precedence,” Gedert said matter-of-factly but with some agitation. “I have a limited number of men and so many I can work on at a time. There is only so much I can do, and there are at least five ahead of it.”
“Does that mean that it won’t be fixed until October, December, sometime next year?” Meador retorted. “I’ve had to look at this every day since last October with no one living in it, and now you’re saying again that it’ll have to wait.”
Council President Larry Fidler banged his gavel as the argument between Meador and Gedert began to escalate. It would be the first of two times he would do so.
The council then recognized Gedert, who asked whether the council had considered what could be done to address flooding in a depressed, three-acre spot near the SHOA office. He related that he had tried to fill in the space, known as the “common ground,” with dirt, as well as built a dam nearby.
Gedert said that the town’s consideration was needed, though it is understood that properties such as 336 Someday Way continue to flood. Clerk-Treasurer Cheryl Galloway provided that the town had brought in an engineer in 2015 to survey the area. However, potential solutions were not discussed by the council, and have not been considered by the body since.
Fidler suggested that the spot was not within the town’s purview, since it rests on private property and is under Gedert’s discretion. It was this point that led to a disagreement between the two as to the effectiveness of Gedert’s efforts and his responsibility to help rectify them.
After he had asked Gedert if he would be open to find more solutions to curb the flooding, Fidler rapped his gavel again as the majority Stardust Hills owner continued to insist that he had done enough and became frustrated.
Another public comment on the agenda concerned an ongoing problem with loose dogs within the town. Resident Lori Winings spoke before the council with a complaint that her neighbor’s dogs had become not just a nuisance, but a safety concern for her and others.
“He (her neighbor) has no respect for his dogs or his neighbors, and I have called the police, but it is still a big problem,” Winings said. “I have started carrying a small bat, because I don’t want to be bitten by them,” adding that she knew of a Cloverdale police officer who had been attacked.
Town Marshal Steve Hibler confirmed that Deputy Marshal Levi App had been bitten recently, and that the individual in question had been cited. He related that the Cloverdale Police Department has issued multiple citations for at-large dogs, but that it does not have the proper means to handle them.
“We’ve taken the actions that we can to help the situation,” Hibler said. “It’s frustrating that owners will not take responsibility for their dogs. However, Animal Control has the tools which we don’t have on us, so we’re escalating the issue and taking more steps.”
Hibler recommended that Winings and others who encounter loose dogs should photograph or take video of them. These should be sent to the department, that way they might be identified and the owner can be contact.
In other business, the council approved the purchase of a hydraulic lift so that the town’s vehicles can be serviced in-shop. The council also approved an ordinance brought by Galloway allowing for water, wastewater and visa funds to be combined in the Town’s general account. Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce representative Mark Wingler also related that Rick Dearwester had stepped down as the chamber’s president, and that a replacement had not yet been found.
The next regular meeting of the Cloverdale Town Council is scheduled on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. in the Cloverdale Town Hall.