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No more nuisances?

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Crittenden beefs up code

By Camille McClanahan

If you’ve got junk cars on your property in Crittenden, it may cost you.

Mayor Gayle Cayton gave the first reading of an ordinance to update the city’s current nuisance regulations at the regular council meeting on Feb. 2.

“We have a lot of complaints from neighborhoods about junk cars—maybe one that is not even licensed. In the summer time, people let their yards get over-grown,” Cayton said.  “We had to put a little more meat into our existing ordinance.”

The previous ordinance was too vague regarding violations and penalties, Cayton said.

According to the strengthened provisions, upon receipt of a specific complaint, city officials will go to the property, take a photograph and send a certified letter to the homeowner or tenant and property owner(s).

The notice will specify that cleanup must be completed within 15 days from receipt of the letter.

If there is no compliance, then the city will request that someone from the Grant County Sheriff’s office serve them with a citation. Fines for the offense can be from $25 to $500 for each violation, and each day the citation is ignored constitutes a new violation. In the case of weeds and vegetation, including overgrown grass (in excess of 12 inches), city maintenance workers may do the cleanup or mowing and bill the responsible party. If the bill is not paid within 10 days, the amount will be added to the property owner’s tax bill.

“We’ve always sent letters if we got a complaint, but we didn’t do anything,” Cayton said. “We needed a better follow-through policy. We needed a penalty to give us a means to go after them, if they don’t comply.”

The second reading of the ordinance will be at the next regular meeting on March 2, and then, according to Cayton, “it will be official.”

In other matters, council heard the first reading of an ordinance to define the city’s Commercial Business District (CBD). The ordinance includes a comprehensive list of  specific types of businesses that will be permitted to operate within the business zone.