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Nusiance ordinance tabled

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By Bryan Marshall

The second reading of a lengthy nuisance ordinance that would have targeted properties with out of control weeds, dilapidated buildings and excessive noise was tabled by the Dry Ridge City Council.

“When we got this nobody realized it was going to be 19 pages,” said Mayor Clay Crupper. “I read the whole thing twice. According to this, you couldn’t even burn wood because the smoke would bother somebody. If you’re working on a car, you couldn’t do it because the noise would be real loud. This has created a monster for us.”

The ordinance declared unlawful “for the owner, occupant or person having control or management of any land within the city to permit a public nuisance to develop.”

Declared public nuisances included: accumulation of rubbish, dwellings unfit for human habitation, unsafe buildings, dangerous buildings, dilapidated buildings, dangerous trees or stumps adjoining streets, storage of explosives or combustible materials, unsanitary keeping of animals, open wells, weeds and grasses in excess of 12 inches in height, obstructing trees and shrubbery, storage of junk, scrap metal or motor vehicles in inoperable condition, dead animals, excessive noise, open burning, noxious odors, smoke or fumes, foul water, water pollution, environmental nuisances, signs and illegal activity.

“I know this council doesn’t want to approve anything like this,” Crupper said. “The biggest thing we had was two or three old houses in town that we’re trying to get rid of or do something with them. I think that’s the biggest thing.”

The mayor previously cited two abandoned homes on Warsaw Avenue that sparked interest in developing the nuisance ordinance.

Williamstown City Attorney Jeff Shipp, who attended the meeting to discuss another issue, suggested a possible solution to the problems the council wanted to deal with.

“Williamstown has an ordinance on nuisance that might fit what you all need,” he said. “It’s short. It takes care of grass too tall. If the city has to go out and mow, it allows you to go out and place a lien on the property. If the property gets into such a state that it has to be removed, it allows the city to go in and file suit and get a court order to tear the property down.”

Crupper recommended the council table the ordinance and try to draft a two- to three-page ordinance directed at the dilapidated properties the original ordinance was meant for.

A representative from the League of Kentucky Property Owners asked that the council send a copy of any future ordinance to them.

“I believe in working with the property owner and trying to get them to do something first,” Crupper said. “We don’t want to just go out and say we are going to condemn you and take you to court. I like to talk to people and see if we can work it out.”