Saturday, February 23, 2008

Council to Decide on Enforcement Options

From the blog of Sam Taylor comes the following:

“Illegal rooming houses: Mayor Pike’s executive staff are giving three options to council members on the issue. No. 1 — hire a neighborhood compliance officer and implement a pilot program at an estimated cost of about $106,000. No. 2 — Reassign the litter control officer to handle the neighborhood compliance issues with the pilot program. $30,000 in costs, according to interim Police Chief Todd Ramsay. No. 3 — Do nothing, at no cost, and put the workload on the shoulders of the current code enforcement officer, who is already working on 109 active cases. This discussion will take place during a 2:05 p.m. Planning and Community Development Committee meeting.”

The Zonemaven had already spoken briefly with Acting Police Chief Todd Ramsay on the subject, hence the blog posting of 17 February. (Click here to read that entry) You can read the full recommendation to Council on enforcement of the BMC regarding single family zoning by clicking here. Of the three proposals, the Zonemaven is supporting option number 1, which is to hire a neighborhood compliance officer while implementing a pilot program of enforcement. This problem is too pervasive and the city is growing too large merely to append these enforcement duties on a current position. The idea of making illegal rooming houses a civil infraction is a move in the right direction. There are other jurisdictions in which wise councils have implemented this change to simplify the process and to modify the requirements for burden of proof. It remains to be seen if the City Council will react in a visionary mode and select the robust option which will serve to provide enough power to restore the character of our neighborhoods in the years to come instead of those options which may have been appropriate in years passed.

Note: Aside from the committee discussions at 2:05 on Monday, the full council will consider the issue at its 7 pm meeting.

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