While the aldermen have not publicly addressed the issue of an ordinance to govern the minimum standards of residential property, specifically that of rentals, since its July public hearing, Ward Two Alderman Johnny Anderson has put forward an alternative to both the first and second proposals.
Anderson said that he took issue with the original proposal’s call to grant the city’s building and zoning inspector the authority to enter a residence and inspect it to make sure that adequate sewer, water and electricity are being provided.
“I believe the ‘Minimum Property Maintenance and Community Appearance’ ordinance will allow us to enhance our present ordinance and accomplish what we are seeking without entering a person’s home,” Anderson said.
According to the proposal, it would have several purposes, such as promoting public health and general welfare in the city, providing adequate utilities, security from fire and other dangers, among several others.
The proposal names several items which would be considered violations of the minimum standards, including junk vehicles, the storage of junk, garbage or waste products on the property, blocking access to a public street, alley or way, allowing vegetation, such as grass, bushes, trees and plants to become overgrown and any other types of nuisances that would “negatively affect the health, safety, welfare” of neighbors.
According to the proposal, any violation would be considered a misdemeanor and would carry a possible fine of $100 and up to 30 days in jail. Each day that the violation continues would be considered a separate offense.
Anderson said that he is in favor of enhancing and enforcing New Albany’s current ordinances before passing additional ones and that he is not in favor a city employee having the authority to enter someone’s home unless criminal activity is taking place.
Anderson said that he has given a copy of the proposal to the other board members but did not say when it would be discussed publicly.