City taking legal action in nuisance violations

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By Sharon Graves

Individuals with violations of Carrollton’s nuisance ordinance can expect legal action with the city as the complaining witness in the near future.

Following a lengthy executive session Monday, Aug. 10, Carrollton City Council gave Mayor Dwight Louden authority to “pursue legal action against those individuals with violations of the nuisance ordinance.”

Five cases are involved with violations that are 60 days old or beyond, according to Louden in an interview following the meeting.  This only involves individuals who are in violation, the mayor said, noting it does not affect those who have been given warnings.

The city has been pursuing several cases involving violations of the nuisance ordinance through the courts for about a year, but no final decision has been made on most of them.  

“We’re going to court and we’ll see what the judge says,” Louden said.

In other business, Sam Burgess, board of adjustments member and director of the Main Street program, voiced his displeasure with comments from the mayor in the Aug, 5 issue of The News-Democrat.  

Louden had questioned several approvals by the BOA for home occupations in detached garages stating the board had taken some leeway in those decisions.

“I was somewhat taken aback by what the mayor had said,” Burgess said.  “We as a board do not interpret ordinances.”  

Burgess explained that Code Enforcement Officer John Welch brings a package of documents to the BOA for approval. Burgess further explained that the board asks Welch if all the ordinances have been met by the property owner and if they have then the board usually approves the request.  

Louden clarified his statement that the city does not want businesses in auxiliary buildings. “I know we have been asking property owners to build a breezeway to attach the garage to the house,” Louden said.     

Council member Mike Gordon, reading from the ordinance book, said the statute on home occupations states they must be within the principle foundation of the residence.  “An accessory building cannot house a home occupation. Council wants to clarify that so there is not doubt,” Gordon added.

Welch requested clarification on two points: the exact meaning of an attached garage and determining what is safe.  

Welch brought up the problem of having a home occupation that could store items such as petroleum products or gasoline inside of a garage that is part of a residence.  

Regardless of the viewpoint, Burgess was clearly unhappy with the mayor’s remark.  “I do take exception.” Burgess said.

No action was taken and no apology was given.  The council agreed at an earlier meeting to have the Planning and Zoning revisit the ordinance and clarify the language and that decision was not changed.