Sunnyside council revisits proposed nuisance ordinance
Sunnyside city councilmembers again reviewed a proposed nuisance ordinance last Tuesday.
The matter was tabled two weeks ago when concerns were raised by councilmembers and the council agreed to review the ordinance before voting on it.
Councilmember Doug Parsons echoed his concerns in an email which was read by Mayor Bruce Andrews.
In the email message, Parsons explained that the ordinance as it is written is too strict in regards to vehicles stored on city residents' property.
The proposed statute would require that vehicles that are not running need to be stored in a carport or garage.
Parsons opinion remains that the ordinance should allow owners to cover vehicles with tarps or car covers and still be in compliance with city ordinance.
Two weeks prior, Parsons had raised his concerns over the fine for noncompliance imposed in the ordinance.
As it reads, the ordinance requires $750 per day until the offender rectifies the nuisance.
"I have a problem with that," commented Councilmember Sherri Madrid, reiterating her position on the fine.
In addition, the ordinance states that violation of the city ordinance is a class C misdemeanor offense.
Madrid questioned whether the city needed to make the violation a misdemeanor or if it could be lowered to an infraction, similar to a minor traffic violation.
Andrews explained that in his conversations with legal counsel regarding the matter, he was led to believe that the city should make violations a misdemeanor.
Madrid also explained that she had spoken to Price Police Chief Aleck Shilaos.
Shilaos reportedly indicated that Price has a passive approach to dealing with nuisances and is not actively looking for violations. Instead violators are cited when neighbors or other citizens raise concerns.
The council also reviewed the process of issuing a citation and the appeal process available to residents after a citation has been issued.
City officials send violators a notice by regular mail that they are not in compliance with city ordinance.
If the violator fails to comply, a second notice is sent, this time by registered mail.
When necessary, a third notice is sent by local law enforcement. If the violator fails to comply within the time allowed by the ordinance, a citation is issued.
Those who believe the citation is in error can appeal to a five person panel. The panel is composed of five city residents who are not city employees. That panel can review the alleged violation and either uphold the initial findings of the city or overturn it.
Councilmembers agreed to lower the amount of the fine imposed by the ordinance to a onetime fine of $100. In addition, wording will be changed to allow vehicles to be covered with tarps or car covers instead of the structure.
In an unrelated matter, Madrid gave an update on the progress of the committee assigned to draft a personnel policy. She explained that the committee had not met to to review the matter, but that the human resources director for Price, John Daniels, had contacted her after reading about the committee in the Sun Advocate. Daniels offered to give Madrid a copy of Price's policy.
Madrid said she would try to obtain a copy of the file on disk and Sunnyside could edit the policy more easily, removing the unnecessary parts and adding anything necessary for Sunnyside.