By RYAN HASLAM
Provo City Council showed support to adopt a Nuisance Abatement Ordinance in Tuesday evening’s study session. It was considered by the Council because of an increase in problem-causing neighbors in Provo.
The ordinance is adopted from a Napa, Calif., rule that was designed to stop gang-related problems.
“The concept in this ordinance is that certain kinds of activities defined in the ordinance are determined to be a nuisance. If that activity occurs, it sets up an enforcements procedure that the city administration would follow,” said Neil Lindberg, Council attorney.
City Council members thought Napa’s version of the ordinance might be a little strong for Provo’s relatively light neighborhood problems.
“This ordinance mandates just about everything but fluoride in the water. I think we need to be careful not to go too far with this idea,” Mayor Lewis Billings said.
The Council members all hesitated to move too quickly on the adoption of the ordinance. They did agree, however, that an administrative approach would be beneficial for Provo.
“I personally like the idea of this new approach. It’s a lot faster and effective than trying to go through a judge,” said Cindy Richards, City Councilmember.
The City Council discussed the cost of enforcing such an ordinance and bartered over the extent to which they would take the ordinance.
“If we take this ordinance to the extent it is written (in the Napa ordinance), it will cost a lot of money,” Billings said.
One Council member thought a diluted version of the nuisance abatement ordinance would actually save the money that would have been spent in court.
“I know I’m being a little idealistic, but maybe it would save us some money in terms of labor, administrative management or zoning (officials) going out (by) giving a warning, then another warning and another,” Richards said. “Perhaps it will cut some of those corners by not going through the legal system.”
“I’m exited about this idea,” Billings said. “I think it would do a lot for Provo, … but maybe we should do this phase by phase. We need to find out which of these items are most needed in our city.”
City Council voted unanimously to place the item on the study agenda for Sept. 15 to give the Council members more time to develop the idea.
“We need time to do our homework before we open it up to the public….I think we’ve learned as a Council that with administrative issues, we need to do it right the first time,” Council Chair Greg Hudnall said.