By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

A more forceful approach to property owners who scoff at the city?s blight ordinance is making progress in Crescent City, according to officials.

?I see we have made some progress in the blight area,? said Councilmember C. Ray Smith regarding the cleanup of some problem properties.

Crescent City City Manager Dave Wells reported to the Crescent City City Council last night that some parcels with overgrown vegetation have been mowed along the Highway 101 corridor.

?We contacted them and requested they get it done,? Wells said yesterday prior to the council meeting. ?We got a good response from the property owners and they did their best, considering it?s still a bit soggy out there.?

But, according to Wells, there was still not much movement from Darryl Lovaas, the owner of the property on Front and M streets. A building on this property, which is located at the entrance to the city from the south, has been a sticking point for the council for some time.

?They have been served with their third and final notice,? Wells told the council. ?We have not heard back from them yet. The next step is for them to appear before the planning commission on April 11.?

Although Smith said he had three other meetings scheduled that day, he said this particular commission meeting was one he planned on attending.

The most obvious building on the Lovaas property has a gaping hole in its side from a car wreck from more than two years ago. Lovaas told Wells he was waiting for clearance from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board before cleaning up the property. Apparently a cleanup plan was approved by the board more than a month ago.

Councilmembers directed staff to get tougher with property owners during their March 4 meeting. They authorized city crews to begin mowing properties with overgrown vegetation along Highway 101 immediately after the 30-day blight notices had expired and bill the owners for the service.

Wells said yesterday the city did not have to resort to those measures.

?It turns out the company they used to mow the properties is the same company we use,? Wells told the council. ?They got most of it mowed down. The one problem they ran into is mud.?

Councilmember C. Ray Smith listed several properties along Highway 101 ? most of which were at various stages of cleanup.

An apparent new property on Smith?s blight list is on the corner of Cooper and M streets across from Kmart, which still bears an Exxon sign from many years earlier.

?They have not been cited yet,? Wells said.

?Well, that gentleman is in town,? said Smith. ?We need to send him a greeting card.?