City Moves on Codes Enforcement

Published 1:46 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2022

The Harlan City Council performed a first reading of an ordinance designed to create a Codes Enforcement Board for the city during a recent meeting.
“The next item is our code enforcement ordinance,” said Harlan City Mayor Joe Meadors. “We’ve kicked this thing around for a while.”

Meadors advised the panel most people are cooperative when contacted about cleaning up their property, but there will likely be some who will not cooperate with a board.

“This code enforcement board is not going to solve all of the issues,” Meadors said. “We may have a code enforcement board and somebody may say ‘I’m not coming to a hearing, and I’m not bringing an attorney.’ They’re going to challenge us. They’re probably going to challenge our authority to deal with them.”

According to Meadors, if the issue cannot be resolved by the codes enforcement board, the courts would be the next option.

“Ultimately, we’ll be in district court,” Meadors said. “So, this is not going to eliminate those hard cases where people are not going to cooperate with us.”

Meadors added every case will not be resolved quickly.

“Some of these are not going to be as quick as we hope,” Meadors said. “I didn’t want anybody to think that just by passing this code enforcement board ordinance we’re suddenly going to be able to snap our fingers and lower the boom…as long as everybody’s aware of that, we can move forward.”
Following some discussion, the council approved the first reading of the Codes Enforcement Board ordinance.

The panel also discussed the possibility of an ordinance giving ATV’s access to certain city streets. Meadors pointed out a public forum would have to be held to allow the public to present opinions on the issue.

“I think it’s important to have a public forum,” Meadors said. “It looks like COVID may be down enough in three or four weeks that we probably could have a public forum and have enough people come out and tell us what they think.”

Meadors pointed out city residents would be impacted the most by such an ordinance.

“If you all want to table it and come back next month and try to have a hearing some time at the end of April…we may decide that we’re not going to do anything,” Meadors said. “My question is, if we don’t do anything specific, what does state law allow?”

Meadors noted some research needs to be done to determine the possible outcomes should the council decide to take action or not take any action.

The panel opted to continue the discussion at the next council meeting.

“We’ll bring this up at the next meeting,” Meadors said. “Hopefully I’ll have some more information.”