Revision of Tonganoxie’s nuisance codes scheduled for Monday’s council meeting
After months of consideration, a revision of the city’s nuisance codes that strengthens and streamlines enforcement is scheduled to be on Monday’s Tonganoxie City Council agenda.
The ordinance is one of a number of actions the council has taken in response to citizen concern in last spring’s election about blight, which included condemnation in June of two properties in the city.
The measure is a revision of chapter 8 of the city code, which defines health nuisances and establishes actions to alleviate them.
During the council’s first viewing of the ordinance last month, City Attorney Mike Kelly said the purpose of the revision was to streamline enforcement procedures placing jurisdiction of nuisance citations with the municipal court. At the present time, the city council hears those complaints.
The exception, Kelly said, would be condemnation proceedings. Because of the seriousness of that action, condemnations would still come before the city council.
The revision would also increase the maximum fine for citations from $100 to $500.
The ordinance would give the city codes inspector, police department or fire chief the ability to issue citations for such things as public health and environmental violations and abandoned vehicles. Should the property owner not address the issues in the citation within a proscribed time (10 days for such things as obstruction of sidewalks, junk in yards or abandoned cars and 45 days for exterior structural concerns), the citation would be forwarded to municipal court.
At present when the building inspector identifies an issue, a courtesy letter is sent to the property owner identifying issues. If action is taken, a second letter is sent to the property owner of a hearing before the city council on the matter.
In the proposed revision, non-compliance with any court decision could be costly and could still bring the matter to the city council. If a property owner fails to comply with an order at a hearing, each day of non-compliance would be considered an additional violation. If no action is taken, city staff could recommend abatement steps for the city council’s approval with an assessment against the property to recover costs.