House continues to generate complaints

Owner hasn’t done enough to appease neighbors or town since taking out a building permit in 2014

THE CONDITION OF the house at 2324 Hwy. A in the Town of Belgium has been a source of complaints that has caused the Town Board to request property owner Craig Noll to show progress on fixing it up after he took out a building permit in 2014. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Town of Belgium last month determined it would visit a resident in spring to get a progress update and provide motivation to fix up his house at 2324 Hwy. A.

Property owner Craig Noll took out a building permit in 2014 when he bought the house, but its condition continues to irritate neighbors. Noll came to a Town Board meeting in 2019 and again last September.

“I‘d like us all to be neighborly and I respect that you’re a busy guy just like the rest of us. It would be nice if we could see a little progress on it. We’ve had complaints from the neighbors,” Town Chairman Tom Winker said.

Noll disagreed.

“We’ve addressed this last year. I don’t know why I’m here,” Noll said.

Supr. Bill Janeshek said the town is trying to reach common ground with Noll.

“We’d like to see some siding put on the house,” he said.

Noll remained defiant.

“We addressed this last year. It’s aesthetics,” he said.

“You don’t have any statute that you can do anything to me for this.”

Winker asked Noll to put himself in his neighbors’ shoes and asked if he could “hurry the process along” and fix up the house.

Noll said he preferred “God’s rules,” which would have a neighbor address him directly instead of the current process. If talking doesn’t work, he suggested finding someone else with a common belief to help. The third step would be to go to the government.

“From what I’m getting, nobody is complaining since nobody is contacting me,” he said. “I want the person that’s complaining. You guys are government. You shouldn’t be addressing this.”

Zoning Administrator Charlie Parks said neighbors are often hesitant to address someone directly.

“People want to stay under the radar,” he said.

Noll said, “You don’t bring a whole lynch mob” to address an issue, drawing a quick response from Winker.

“Craig, we’re not a lynch mob. This board is a group of your peers and friends and neighbors.”

Noll agreed to a meeting at his property with Supr. Tom Bichler and some neighbors to discuss the issue.

Bichler told the board last month that five people met with Noll on Oct. 20.

“We went there as friends and left as friends. We didn’t really accomplish a whole lot,” Bichler said.

Noll, Bichler said, has other issues with his house, namely that the well isn’t working. Bichler said he asked if Noll could use the money to fix the well to instead improve siding and windows.

“He didn’t like that idea at all,” Bichler said.

Bichler suggested hiring someone to do the work, but “that didn’t go too far” since Noll is a handyman himself.

Parks said, “I think we got a little bit of a commitment to get the windows done over the winter, hopefully — fingers crossed — with the hope that in the spring he would start on siding.

“I just, along with the group, reiterated that if he would at least get the outside looking good, problem solved.”

Bichler asked for a six-month progress update, and Noll “kind of denied that.” When asked about a one-year update, Bichler said Noll told him he can’t be forced to provide one.

“It’s been six years and nothing has changed. He’s in an R-1 (residential) district, which in my eyes is not a good place to be,” Bichler said.

He said he talked to 20 neighbors, but most didn’t want to confront Noll.

“I don’t like that he keeps throwing back at us that we can’t do anything. We can do something. Come spring, he needs to know that we can do something. He’s not going to keep telling us that there’s nothing we can do. Because there are other avenues to go after,” Bichler said.

A couple of neighbors have offered to buy the house and said they would tear it down, he said.

Winker suggested contacting legal counsel to determine the town’s options and get a progress update in April.

“The town will pursue to see what our next avenue is because trying to be neighborly isn’t working real well,” he said.

Parks said to “emphasize the point that I wouldn’t want to be looking at it if I was living next door.”

As a result, the town may also amend its ordinance to put a time limit on building permits. The town doesn’t have one now.

“It’s meant to allow people to have the time they need to get their projects done. I explained to him we all hit snags. People lose their jobs, the budget is out the window,” Parks said.

“But I said when you take advantage of this, like you are doing — and he is taking advantage of it — you’re ruining it for everybody because the ordinance gets changed to become more restrictive.”

The town plans to discuss the ordinance over winter.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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