Cities in East Carbon area plan to enforce nuisance ordinances
Officials in Sunnyside will move forward with efforts to beautify the city.
Residents who fail to comply with the city's nuisance ordinances will receive citations in the near future, said Mayor Bruce Andrews at a council meeting on July 18.
The mayor explained that there are about a half dozen lots inside the city where officials have seen no effort to correct alleged violations.
After revamping the city's nuisance ordinance earlier this year, the city sent notices to property owners who were in violation of the ordinance.
The city notified property owners that they would be given time to correct the situation, but if no effort was made to correct alleged nuisances, the city would be issuing citations and imposing fines.
Many residents who have received letters have begun work to correct the situation, said Andrews.
As long as the efforts continue, individuals who are working to clean up their property will not receive citations.
A similar situation was reported in East Carbon by Mayor Orlando Lafontaine.
At a city council meeting last week, he commended property owners who are working to clean up their yards.
At approximately the same time that Sunnyside sent out notices to offenders, East Carbon notified alleged violators within the city that similar actions would be taken.
Lafontaine urged property owners who had done work to correct alleged violations to contact city officials and request that their properties be reviewed.
By contacting the city, residents could be sure that they had taken the necessary steps eliminate nuisances and at the same time ensure that they would not receive a citation.
In some cases, more work would be required. In other cases, property owners may need to do more work to bring properties into compliance with city codes.
Both mayors noted that the majority of properties which have seen no improvements since the warning letters were issued are owned by individuals who do not reside in either city.
"This town looks a lot better," commented Andrews.
As both cities move forward with citations, residents may discover that the amount of leniency and understanding is reduced. Lafontaine said last week that he had received indications from the judge in East Carbon City's justice that residents would be required to come into full compliance or face strict penalties as set forth in the city ordinance.
And while a handful of residents may be forced into compliance, both mayors said that for the most part, residents are making efforts to come into compliance with city ordinances.
"I'm impressed with how people are cleaning up," said Andrews.
The Community Development Coalition has worked in partnership with both Sunnyside and East Carbon in organizing a volunteer cleanup program to help individuals who are unable to clean up their properties. In some cases, these efforts have been as simple as mowing down weeds and clearing debris from the property. Other situations have required volunteers to spend more time helping residents.
"I am so impressed with how residents have stepped forward," said Sandra Garcia, who chairs the coalition.
The coalition has organized volunteer efforts earlier this spring and summer to help residents and has plans to continue helping those who need assistance. Garcia said that the work to beautify the two cities has only begun and that the coalition has plans to continue beautification efforts beyond helping residents comply with city ordinances.
One issue raised at both city councils relates to nuisances located on city property but caused by residents. For example, some residents have reportedly blocked alleys and secondary roads with broken-down vehicles and other debris.
This type of situation is not only a violation of city ordinances, but it may also cause access problems for firefighters trying to access backyards and grasslands behind many residents' homes. By blocking alleys and other roads, property owners may be placing themselves in a situation where they could face liability claims from damages resulting from the inability of fire crews to access certain areas.
Andrews said Tuesday that the Sunnyside officials will ask residents to vacate city access roads. If residents fail to comply, the mayor said the city will take further actions to correct the situation.