PELETIER — Peletier commissioners voted 4-0 March 6 to adopt a nuisance ordinance amendment designed to enhance efforts to clean up properties considered eyesores or safety hazards.
The vote came during the panel’s monthly regular meeting in the town hall off Highway 58.
As the mainland western Carteret County town has transitioned the last few years from a largely rural municipality – with lots of undeveloped farmland and wooded tracts – to an increasingly suburban and beach bedroom community with many new residential subdivisions, residents have clamored for cleanups.
But the town’s part-time code enforcement officer, Kris Jensen, a full-time Carteret County Sheriff’s Office deputy, has frequently been hamstrung by a lack of teeth in the nuisance ordinance.
During many recent town board meetings, including the one March 6, he has said he often gets some voluntary compliance when he talks to owners of property with dilapidated trailers and overgrown vegetation and other problems, but property owners’ cleanup efforts often stop and there’s sometimes little he can do.
The ordinance amendment, according to town attorney Brett DeSelms, provides “objective criteria – for example, an 8-inch height limit for grass and weeds – that will enable Lt. Jensen to enforce the rules more effectively. It’s much better for him (Lt. Jensen) and for me to follow up” with paperwork, DeSelms said.
Under the ordinance amendment adopted by the board, the town can now order a property owner to take action – for example, mowing vegetation taller than allowed – and if the owner doesn’t take action, hire someone to do the job and assess the cost as a property tax lien.
The problem with that, however, is that the town could have to wait a year until taxes are due to recoup the costs.
As a result of that problem, Commissioner Tim Quinn suggested that the town also be allowed to assess a $175 administrative fee to pay for the staff and attorney’s time, along with the tax lien.
DeSelms agreed that was a reasonable approach but noted that the idea is still to get property owners to comply with the provisions of the nuisance ordinance.
“I think it (the ordinance) will be effective,” the attorney said.
After the required public hearing, Quinn made the successful motion to approve the ordinance amendment as drafted by DeSelms, with the addition of the $175 administrative fee.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.
Peletier is a town that can't afford to provide citizens basic services but they're going to spend money having properties in violation cleaned up? And then they going to pay court fees? This is the same town that has to take several months to digest a proposed ordinance and figure out how to enforce said ordinance. My head hurts!
Do I hear banjos a playing and see more toes than teeth at those meetings ?
Welcome to the discussion.
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