Increased code enforcement stirs up complaints

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By Sharon Graves

For more than a year, residents  have been complaining that city ordinances weren’t being enforced.

Now that code enforcement has been stepped up, plenty of angry people came to Monday’s Carrollton City Council meeting at City Hall to complain about being cited for violations.

In September, the city hired Art Zook as an assistant code enforcement official. Since Oct. 1, he has been writing warnings and citations to property owners who are violating city ordinances.

Zook had previously been a member of the city’s  planning and zoning commission and resigned that position for the new part-time job. Mayor Dwight Louden has not named his successor.

Billy Welch, owner of a rental property at 601 Sixth St., told council a placard has been posted on his property that states all residents there must vacate the property within 60 days.  

Welch was seeking relief from the order that demands he evict his tenants from the property by Dec. 2.

City attorney Nick Marsh told council that Fire Chief Randy Tharp, the state fire marshal and code enforcement officer John Welch (no relation to the property owner) inspected the property July 23 and found it to be unfit for human habitation.

John Welch said a second inspection of the property Oct. 1 revealed that no substantial repairs had been made. On Oct. 2, Billy Welch was cited for failure to take action and given 60 days to evict his tenants.

Marsh explained to Billy Welch that council does not have jurisdiction to rescind the order to evict.

“Those are the same violations you have been cited with before,” Marsh said to Billy Welch. “You had seven days to appeal, and you did not do it.”

Johnny Osborne of 1515 Fisher St. distributed 134 photographs of properties in the city of Carrollton that he believes appear to be in violation of the nuisance ordinance.

But at the heart of his appearance before council was a warning notice he received about a derby car he keeps parked in his yard.  He was supported by about a dozen other derby-car enthusiasts, who accompanied him to the meeting and said they are  upset by their predicament.

The city’s nuisance ordinance states that cars must be in operating condition and street-legal, with proper license tags and insurance. Derby cars are neither licensed nor insured, group members said.

Osborne said he keeps his cars in a building, but admitted that he does have some outside that he keeps covered with a tarp.

The fact that the cars, even covered, are visible from the street or by neighbors is against the nuisance ordinance.

Councilman Dean Miller Jr. adviced the group to get together and discuss what changes could be made to the ordinance. “Bring us a proposal, but be realistic.  You can’t have 50 derby cars,” he said. “You might have yours under control, but someone else doesn’t. Maybe you could bring back a petition and a proposal” for council to consider.

“After the pictures we’ve seen, we have our hands full,” said Councilman Bill Welty.

In other business: Following an executive session, the council announced that the city received notification from the Army Corps of Engineers about a new project along the Kentucky River.

Carrollton River Terminal of Louisville, Ky., has applied to the Army Corps with plans to build a new liquid asphalt plant on the left bank of the Kentucky River in Prestonville.

Council said it would recommend a public hearing on the project.

Additionally, according to Louden, council discussed proposed litigation should no hearing occur. No action was taken on the matter.

Sharon Graves is staff writer for The News-Democrat. Contact her at sgraves@mycarrollnews.com.