By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
The property at 1720 Koch's Lane is extremely overgrown and unsightly again. The city or county has taken action in the past, perhaps due to local ordinance violations. Can (will) that be done again soon in order to improve that eyesore on a busy street?
Who do you talk about what to do at 1720 Koch's Lane? This home sits right outside of a very nice neighborhood. I can't believe it's not been dealt with. I know it's not in the city, but it is a mess -- junk, downed trees, and no one has mowed all summer.
The property at 1720 Koch's Lane is one of the most popular subjects for readers of this column, and it's been a problem for local officials for three decades.
Lee Mueller, an environmental sanitarian with the Adams County Health Department, says he's been working on the situation for more than three years. Quite simply, the property is "a mess," Mueller said.
The property is owned by Paul H. and E.J. Pfanschmidt of Athens, Texas. Multiple parcels of land north of Koch's Lane between 12th and 24th Street have been annexed into the city's Third Ward, but the property at 1720 Koch's Lane is the only property on the south side of the street that is not part of the Third Ward.
Mueller said about a year and a half ago, the issue of the property came before the Adams County Board.
"The County Board made a resolution to get something done, and the state's attorney's office was working on a fix-or-flatten situation," Mueller said. "Then someone thought things weren't moving fast enough, and they called the Illinois EPA."
Mueller says the Illinois Environmental Protection Association has taken over as the "lead agency" in the situation, but that doesn't mean the Adams County Health Department and the County Board have washed their hands.
"From time to time, we still hear from (the Illinois EPA), and I'll give reports to the EPA so they don't have to send a guy all the way over here to check things out," Mueller said.
When asked if he could estimate when the site would be cleaned, Mueller said, "I couldn't give you a guess."
"When I first became involved, I said I thought we could get something done, but it wasn't going to happen quickly," he said. "That certainly has proven to be true."
The nuisance abatement code in Quincy calls for a three-day notice to be sent to a property owner for tall grass and weeds and a seven-day notice for yards strewn with junk and debris.
"After that notice, if (a property owner doesn't) respond, we would send a work order and our city crews would come out and clean it to meet the code and send an invoice," city planner Chuck Bevelheimer said. "If that person doesn't pay for that, we put a lien against their property."
Is it possible for the city to put "SCHOOL" in paint on the street in school zones? This might help cut down the speeders and have us watching more for children in the area?
Marty Stegeman, the interim director of Central Services, says it would require probably a resolution to be presented by an alderman and for the Quincy City Council to authorize it. "If a request like that was done on behalf of a school or a bunch of schools, it would likely have a better chance," he said.
During the snow storm of February 2011, an article in The Herald-Whig had a statement by one of the city executives that the city saved money by having people put their garbage out at the curb instead of in the alleys where available. Why can't this be done the year around instead of placing recyclable material at the curb and garbage along the alleys?
A committee to address the future of garbage and recycling pickup in Quincy is expected to start meeting soon.
Mayor John Spring recently appointed Aldermen Steve Duesterhaus, D-2, Mike Farha, R-4, Tony Sassen, R-4 and Dan Brink, R-6 to the committee, along with Director of Administrative Services Gary Sparks, City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp, Corporation Counsel Andrew Staff and Stegeman. Duesterhaus will serve as chairman.
"(The idea of putting garbage at the curb) is something that we are looking at," Stegeman said. "Everything is on the table, but is something we have specifically discussed. It's done the way it is now because it's a convenience to the residents more than anything."
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