Ordinance draft says city would fine violators $25 per day for right-of-way encroachment

MT. PLEASANT—Mayor Michael Olsen has asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance to impose a $25 per day fine on owners of buildings, vehicles, trees, etc. encroaching in city rights of way.

The mayor asked the city council to review and propose any changes to the draft so the ordinance can be adopted at the next city council meeting.

The draft is two paragraphs long. Councilman Justin Atkinson called the draft “pretty short.”

“I don’t think $25 is enough,” Councilman Sam Draper said in the meeting.

Olsen replied by saying that it was $10 and he had City Attorney Kevin Daniels increase it to $25.

Olsen knows of two or three car ports that are encroaching onto the city right of way.

Draper asked about Mt. Pleasant residents planting trees in the right of way. Olsen said they can with a permit. However, most of the time, Olsen and the council probably wouldn’t allow the trees because they would be planted under power lines and on top of water lines, Olsen said.

“They would become a real pain,” Olsen told the Messenger.

“I think (residents) need to understand that landscaping versus planting trees is a big difference,” Draper said.

“They need to understand that it’s their cost if [a tree] needs to be dug up,” Recorder Jeanne Tejada said.

Speaking about the ordinance, “Follow through with it I think is a big key,” Draper said. He said that if enforcement of the ordinance falls back on an officer who would issue a citation or however the officer would carry out enforcement, then follow-through would have occurred. The city used to remove both non-working and working cars from the right of way, Draper said.

“Some residents don’t have any place to park in some cases except city right of ways, but they should be licensed and insured vehicles,” Draper told the Messenger.

Stallings said that he guessed that after that, the council would draft a letter that would be given to residents who are encroaching onto the right of way. (The council has talked in prior council meetings about the letter.)

Olsen said that for the letter, the ordinance could be pasted, with a photo of the violation attached.

“You could upload a picture,” Atkinson said.

Draper advocated for there to be a work order for the encroaching resident.

“Maybe we don’t need any more than what we got,” Atkinson said.

“Creating a work order only takes a minute, two minutes tops,” Draper said.

Olsen and the council have previously talked in council meetings about the need to stop encroachment onto the city’s right of way.