Mitch Faber and his wife Jean have been in a battle with the City of Burnsville over improvements to their home since 2007. The City wants them to put siding up, but the Fabers delayed, citing money problems. As a last straw, the City had Faber arrested and jailed.
Faber started receiving letters in 2007 when it came to the attention of city officials that the Faber home had no siding. Faber himself says he fully intended to finish a stucco and rock exterior, but because he lacked the funding to complete the project, he delayed. More letters came and finally, an ultimatum: finish the siding, or go to jail.
So Faber proceeded to spend $12,000 to finish a stucco and rock exterior, thinking that this would finally be in compliance and allow him to avoid a $700 fine. But the city decided otherwise. A city home inspector checked the work and found it to be insufficient. Soon after, on his way to work, deputies came and arrested the homeowner.
That was back in November. Faber was jailed for two days and then released by a judge who ordered him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet. He was released on home detention, which requires him to take a mandatory breathalyzer periodically upon the sound of an alarm.
Following the posting of the story on KTSP Wednesday, angry citizens have posted their outrage on the City of Burnsville Facebook page. The city has declined interviews from local media on the issue, but has made a statement on the Facebook page listed here. https://www.facebook.com/cityofburnsville
Residents who commented didn’t seem satisfied with their response.
You can look up the page for yourself and see the back and forth commentary, however, the author has chosen to reprint the entire comment from the City in order to preserve it from the potential that it might disappear from the web.
“It is evident that there is great interest in the situation regarding a Burnsville man and his property maintenance issues, as were reported on KSTP over the weekend. The story did raise some questions that deserve clarification.
“The City agrees that it is extremely unfortunate that this situation escalated to the point that it did. Typically, the City resolves property maintenance issues by working with homeowners. Of the more than 1,000 property maintenance cases the City deals with annually, less than five percent (5%) escalate to the point of a citation. This case is very unusual in that the situation was not remedied after repeated requests by the City.
“In this instance, the City received multiple complaints from residents regarding the condition of the property in question – and spent nearly four years (between 2007 and 2010) asking for the homeowner’s compliance. The City wrote multiple letters and offered multiple extensions for the work to be completed. In the end, the City felt it had no choice but to issue a citation to the homeowner.
“Once the citation was issued, the case entered the legal process. In 2010, the homeowner appeared in court and plead guilty to his property maintenance violations. At this court appearance, the District Judge assigned to the case ordered that the work was to be completed by a specified date. The judge also ordered that – if the deadline was missed – the homeowner was to report to the court to begin serving a 30-day jail sentence.
“The court-appointed deadline came and went, and City inspectors noted that the home was still in violation of City Code. Once the District Judge learned that the work was not complete by the court-appointed deadline – and because the homeowner failed to return to court as was required by the Judge – the Judge issued a warrant for the homeowner’s arrest.
“Neither the City, nor any representative of the City or its Police Department at any time proactively sought out the homeowner to “apprehend” him for this violation. As City officials understand it, many weeks later the homeowner was part of a routine traffic stop — at which time the officer became aware of the homeowner’s outstanding warrant.
“The City of Burnsville understands that safe and enjoyable neighborhoods are keys to the City’s success, and works hard to partner with residents to achieve that goal. Code enforcement is an important part of making sure all neighbors can take pride in their neighborhoods. It is unfortunate that this situation could not be resolved in typical fashion.”
I wonder when the city officials and the state judges who made these decisions are up for re-election?