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Updated 3:46pm - Apr 15, 2014

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow BLIGHT LAW GETS CHEERS, JEERS AS CITY COUNCIL REVIEWS DRAFT

BLIGHT LAW GETS CHEERS, JEERS AS CITY COUNCIL REVIEWS DRAFT

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Reactions ranging from disgust to support of Crescent Citys proposed blight ordinance were heard at yesterdays city council meeting.

Twenty-four people filled the seats of the Cultural Center for the meeting and several of them voiced opinions.

Im really happy about this blight ordinance, said Mimi Stephens, a real estate broker.

Many people who visit our county and see the blighted areas leave. So, hopefully we can all get together and make something that will really stick, she said.

Those feelings were echoed by several others, but a significant portion of the audience expressed concern for how the city will enforce the new law, if passed.

The essence (of this ordinance) isnt nuisance. The essence is control, said Jerry Daly. Fifty percent of the places here fall into this category, who is going to control all this?

Daly said he fears the ordinance is too vague and that by passing it, the city will gain too much power.

I think youre going to be really sorry if you pass this ordinance, he said.

Others spoke in defense of a crackdown on blight, but pointed to details necessary for its success.

Herbert Kolodner offered: We should have a day once a month where bulk trash and debris are picked up for free.

He noted the expense of taking even small bags of brush and garbage to the dump, costing sometimes six dollars a bag.

Claire Leavitt who rents her home added, the blight ordinance can be a good thing as long as it doesnt go overboard.

With seven children and a yard full of toys and a clothesline, Leavitt wondered if her residence would be targeted.

Is this supposed to be a picture book city or a place to live? she asked. Because in a picture book city, you cant live comfortably, its too tight, youre going to push people away.

Crescent City Mayor Mike Scavuzzo assured the crowd the council would accept what its constituents want.

City attorney Dohn Henion responded to Lyle Adams concern that the ordinance only allows 75 hours to make unlicensed repairs on homes or cars.

Id like to point out that the ordinance allows a voluntary number of days to get the problem cleared up- and could be in excess of 30 days, said Henion.

Scavuzzo agreed. We will work with the people first and try to work out a solution, then if that doesnt work, go through the enforcement procedures.

Then on the issue of those asked or forced to remove debris from their homes or yards, Kevin Hendrick of the Solid Waste Authority made a request.

My concern is that we be sure waste materials end up in the proper place. Can we ask that property owners document that they took their debris to the right place? Hendrick said.

He also offered his services to assist in making the ordinance work.

Strong reactions from both sides of the issue caused the five city council members to put off a final decision.

Members Jack Burlake, George Mayer and C. Ray Smith said the ordinance is a move in the right direction, but understand more public input is necessary before its adoption.

We need to give all opportunity to let people come and give their input. I move to continue the public hearing, said Smith.

Mayer offered:This ordinance will give us the tools to do what needs to be done. Were not going to be the black devil going around and taking people to court. We just want to make sure areas dont get trashed by people.

The council unanimously voted to set up a special public hearing on the ordinance at 7 p.m., Nov. 9, in the Cultural Center.

This may be the last chance for citizens to have their say on the topic, so all council members implore the public to attend.

 


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