"Last Place" Deemed Nuisance

By KBJR News 1

August 10, 2012 Updated Aug 10, 2012 at 7:01 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- Police, businesses, and citizens have complained about activities taking place inside, and outside the controversial Last Place on Earth.
Now the City of Duluth has officially labeled the downtown business a nuisance.

The city says the business is a nuisance partly because of all the neighboring businesses that regularly complain but the owner of the store says they don't meet the legal definition of nuisance. Now owner Jim Carlson has less than 30 days to respond to the Public Notice of Nuisance, or could face legal action from the City of Duluth.

"We got a notice of public nuisance that they are trying to shut down my store for a year because we are a nuisance of people loitering in front of the store and that we are selling illegal drugs," said Last Place owner Jim Carlson in his downtown store.

The City of Duluth is taking action, attempting to curb, what they say is a problem in Downtown Duluth.

"It's been a growing list of people that have been concerned and saying we've got a real nuisance problem here in the heart of Duluth," said City of Duluth Attorney Gunnar Johnson.

The notice of nuisance, presented to Last Place Owner Jim Carlson says the people hanging out in front of his store and the sale of unlawful, harmful drugs could lead to legal action in less than 30 days. But Carlson has never been charged with selling illegal drugs.

"They are claiming that we are selling illegal drugs which it's been a year now and they haven't charged us with anything," said Carlson.

The city is offering Carlson options to avoid legal issues.

"We would like you to abate, or get rid of that nuisance or we would like you to come down and talk to us about a way to work out a plan to abate and resolve that nuisance," said Johnson at City Hall.

Carlson says he often doesn't like the build up of customers outside his store either.

"I'd much rather save the taxpayers money and see if we can resolve issues talking...I think they're a nuisance myself. I wish they weren't there but I can't get rid of them, the police can't get rid of them," said Carlson.

But if Carlson doesn't get rid of those hanging out in front of his store, an injunction could be filed in the near future.

The Notice of nuisance names specific incidents, including the unlawful sale of synthetic drugs twice last year and the obstruction of emergency calls. Minnesota statues say that Carlson's lease could be revoked for one year if the injunction is upheld in state district court.

Zach Vavricka

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