Fountain Green getting tough
on city ordinance violations
By Doug Lowe
FOUNTAIN GREEN—No more mister nice guy. Fountain Green is getting ready to play hard ball when it comes to enforcing the city’s long-standing and long-ignored ordinances intended to regulate a variety of building, planning and permit application requirements.
At a special meeting of city council and the city planning commission on Thursday Jan. 30, council member Shelith Jacobsen, a former member of the planning commission, presented her suggested wording for an official notice of violation she had been assigned to draw up.
According to Jacobsen, “The city has no desire to take the money of its citizens, but needs everyone to respect the rules.”
Revised with input from many of those present, the official letter will be sent to more than 20 property owners to inform them of the steps they need to take within 14 days in order to avoid the imposition of heavy fines as well as possible court action.
The violations to be addressed in this new enforcement push are not the unsightly property concerns Fountain Green has previously worked on by the police issue citations.
During the special joint meeting, a list of more than 20 properties were found to be in violation.
In all those cases, the violations involve potentially serious issues such as the city’s fire and safety codes, insufficient space between structures, inadequate setbacks, encroachment on irrigation easements, unapproved construction of structures like sheds, chicken coops and carports, as well as the unapproved placement of mobile storage containers.
Some of the listed violations dated as far back as 2007. And, in some cases unsuspecting new owners have purchased problematic properties with no knowledge of the violations involved. In the letters they will soon receive, each notified property owner will be advised of the steps they need to follow in order to avoid being hit with heavy fines and possible legal action.
In every instance, calling or visiting the city’s offices as soon as possible is the first step toward being placed on agenda for a future meeting of the planning commission (usually held on the second Thursday of each month). From the commission, property owners can learn exactly what must be done in order to come into compliance.
Such compliance information will also be available in printed form, at the city’s offices, and online from the city’s website. Requests for additional time to come into compliance will be considered by the planning commission. And, in any case, property owners who disagree with any recommendation, or decision, of the planning commission will be provided with a means to appeal.
Certainly, some who received the notification of violation will already be aware there is a problem with their property meeting code. In other cases, some property owners will be surprised—unpleasantly—by unwelcome news.