News and Tribune

Clark County

October 2, 2009

Charlestown stepping up enforcement of ordinances

Recent weather events have increased need to enforce rules

The City of Charlestown starting Wednesday will be increasing enforcement of ordinances that have been on the books for several years, but may not have been as strictly enforced.

The ordinances pertain to property maintenance and parking issues.

“It’s a safety issue and it’s an issue of aesthetics for the neighborhoods,” said Tony Jackson, building commissioner. “It’s become a pretty prevalent problem.”

The major focus for property maintenance involves issues of distraught, shambled and fallen fencing.

Safety issues that relate to ordinances 1998-11 and 2008-OR-01 —which pertain at least in part to fence maintenance — have become a larger problem in the area, because of storms that have caused damage to the structures, Jackson said.

Other safety issues with the fences were largely because of rusting and broken fences that may create a hazard.

Fines for property maintenance issues can range from $25 to $1,500.

There is such a large variation in the fines because the ordinances cover anything from the fence issues to major electrical problems, Jackson said.

The second ordinance that the city will be ramping up enforcement on is 2001-OR-28, as it pertains to restrictions on parking vehicles in yards.

Coupled with the recent heavy rains, cars being parked in yards have added to drainage concerns in the city and have created mosquito problems in some areas, Jackson said.

The parking ordinance states parking in yards is only allowed if it makes up 25 percent of the total length of the front yard or side setbacks of a property and the areas must be maintained with a solid base such as rock, asphalt, gravel or concrete. Fines for parking issues can range from $5 to $100.

Jackson said he will provide notification of violations and allow offenders 10 to 30 days to correct the problems before fines are issued.

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