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Family presents reasons for clearing city property

Feitsers say land has abandoned cars, trash and five hazards
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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A Loomis family says they were just protecting their home when they cleared blackberry brush on a portion of town-owned property. “We were protecting not only our home, but the homes of the neighbors,” said Nikolay Feitser, who built and owns a home in Brace Ranch Estates adjacent to the protected area. “I thought everyone would be happy – city and neighbors – but I miscalculated,” Nikolay Feitser said. Nikolay Feitser and his son Nick appeared at an informal Town of Loomis hearing on March 17 to discuss the clearing conducted on town property. A written statement from the Feitser family, submitted during the hearing, stated, “The Town of Loomis has not maintained the property for years, creating a dangerous haven for rabies-infected pests, various debris and trash pollutants.” Nikolay Feitser said, “I just tried to clean it. I see it every day. I didn’t want to damage it, just wanted to improve it.” Nick Feitser said the overgrown blackberry bushes that covered the town property are invasive, posed a fire threat and were “a breeding ground for vermin.” What was discovered under the blackberry bushes is still of concern to the Feitsers. The Feitsers’ written statement included photos of two abandoned cars, trash, debris and bunched up chicken wire on the town property. He said hundreds of feet of downed barbed wire fencing and a large metal container are on the site. He said the fencing and wire pose a threat to turkeys and other wildlife in the area, and the abandoned cars are “dispersing dangerous chemicals into our water system.” Jo-Carol Arisman, former Loomis planning commissioner, attended the hearing. After viewing photos of the debris on the town property, she said she “didn’t know we had a dump of cars.” “This would be a benefit to the town to get rid of these. I think there might be some blame on both sides,” Arisman said. Nick Feitser said no trees were harmed during the clearing and most of the work was done by hand and a Bobcat tractor was brought in at the end. His father said his understanding of the rules regarding clearing the property was that he only needed town permission if he was cutting down trees. Nikolay Feitser said if he had it to do all over again he would have contacted the town and discussed it with his neighbors. He said his daughter died on Jan. 27 and he was suffering from depression. “I did it not with a clear mind. I tried to do something to be busy. I didn’t think it was a problem,” he said. Nikolay Feitser is the owner of Feitser Construction and bought six of the eight lots in the Brace Road development. He built homes on five of the lots, including the home he occupies adjacent to the open space and oak preservation area. The Feitser home is separated from the protected area by a six-foot-high wrought iron fence installed by the original developer. An unlocked gate, which has since been locked by the town, is on a town easement on the edge of the Feitser property. Town manager Perry Beck said he is preparing a report and decision on the issue and expects a remediation plan to be developed. Beck said the bottom line is “he did the work without permission.” Beck said the town is planning to remove the debris from the property. Beck also said in the future the Feitsers could petition the town to allow grazing or vegetation removal on the property. He said the incident should generate discussion as to whether or not the town wants to accept open space parcels and be responsible for them, or require developers to create a homeowners association to maintain open space in a development.