Friday, August 21, 2009

Hailey considers ‘junk ordinance’

Proposed regulations to get first review Monday

Express Staff Writer

Old trailers like this one in Hailey are among items that will not be allowed to remain on city lots if a new nuisance ordinance is passed by the City Council. Photo by David N. Seelig

There is an old saying that "one man's trash is another man's treasure," but if it doesn't run anymore and if you don't plan to use it soon, you may have to take it to the dump. That's the message the city of Hailey is planning to send to residents who collect junk on their lawns.

The City Council will hear the first reading of an updated nuisance ordinance Monday night aimed at keeping unsightly clutter from depreciating property values in the city.

"There are some properties in Hailey that are so full of different types of items that it has the potential of depreciating neighbors' property values," Mayor Rick Davis said.

Davis had recently instructed City Attorney Ned Williamson to expand language in the city's existing ordinance, to "put more teeth into it," as he said. The decision followed a case in which a criminal citation was written against a property owner several years ago to get him to clean up.

Williamson said when the case went to trial, the judge didn't fully enforce the ordinance.

"He voided some parts of it for vagueness," he said.

Williamson said the judge objected to language stating that items are a problem only if they are "unsightly and interfere with the reasonable enjoyment" of the property of neighbors.

Williamson has repealed parts of the ordinance and added a list of items that cannot be collected within view of neighbors. They include old trailers, building materials and major home appliances that have seen better days.

Violators of the proposed ordinance will have the option to appeal to the City Council. As proposed, repeated violations could lead to fines of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of not more than six months.

Public comment will be taken on the proposed ordinance changes at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

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