Monday night’s Fairfield Bay City Council meeting ended with area homeowners expressing concern about code enforcement.
The homeowners’ concerns, one of the last items on the June 11 meeting’s agenda before the final Mayor’s report, were made by several who came to the meeting concerned that laws about cars, boats and RV parking were not being enforced appropriately, leading to clutter and in turn lower property values.
The meeting agenda said the complaints were from Eagle Ridge residents, but several who spoke of the roughly eight identified themselves as having homes in other than Eagle Ridge.
Cited were homes where cars were parked on the grass, or RVs or boats parked on either the grass or on the street, including no-longer-registered cars at some homes, and in one case a home where the resident was acting as an ad-hoc garage.
“Nothing is being done with them,” one of the residents said, following up with questions to the council as to what could be done.
Speakers, to the one, complimented the efforts of the Fairfield Bay Code Enforcement officer, Dallas Clark, in working to address these issues, “… but it was not enough.” One speaker asked for additional hires for code enforcement.
“We don’t have the money,” City of Fairfield Bay Paul Wellenberger replied, several council members nodding their heads in agreement.
Wellenberger explained to the homeowners that the problem was two-fold. First, when he became mayor Fairfield Bay had a bad reputation for code enforcement and he didn’t want it to become “…the Damascus of code enforcement,” he said.
Prior to his instructing a softer approach to code enforcement the city had a reputation that led many to avoid buying homes in the city, since code enforcement was so demanding, he said.
The second problem was the lack of space to park boats, RVs and etc., Wellenberger said, with no rental space lots available, leading to the problem that if someone was cited for parking a boat out front of their house, an alternative space to park it was not available.
City Attorney A.J. Kelly added that an additional problem was the different homeowners association in the city had different rules as far as what was and was not acceptable, which limited what the city could enforce.
A number of the residents responded that they did not have a homeowner association.
Frustration began to mount as homeowners continued to list problems in their neighborhoods, pointing to specific homes and violations, against the city’s lack of funding for additional code enforcement, and the overall lack of rental space for alternative parking.
Wellenberger did point out, as he had earlier in the meeting, that investors were looking for opportunities in Fairfield Bay, and storage space for rent was one of his suggestions. Further that funding, once the 911 funding was worked out between the city, the county and other cities, may allow hiring additional code enforcement.
(Clark has Animal Shelter duties, as well as code enforcement.)
“We just wanted to bring it to you,” one of the property owners said, closing the discussion.
In other Fairfield Bay City Council matters:
Hotel construction continues, including a $250,000 lumber order with a local provider. The first payment has been made on the bond issued in support of the hotel project.
The police department has a successful bike safety rodeo. In the past month it has a spike in agency assist calls, at 19.
EMS has had 34 helicopter transports in 2018, compared to two total in 2017. EMS Captain Andrea Noltz said separately roughly 80 percent of the increase was due to a drive to deliver a higher quality of care, with the balance reflecting an increased need for transportation for patients when an ambulance was not available.
The animal shelter had to put down several dogs in May due to a Parvo breakout at the facility, the council was told.
Economic Development reports the Tiny Homes development will also include some Tiny Homes available for rent at the campground. Work on a wet/dry vote for 2020 continues.
Ordinances received their first reading, one regarding public safety, classifying such matters as loitering and abandoned property. A second ordinance, for ATV operation within city limits was also read. The first reading allows the ordinances to be on the record, in turn allowing for public comment.