Exploring new way for code enforcement
By Hank Lohmeyer
Published Thursday, June 9, 2016 9:51 am
People in Cedaredge accused by a neighbor of code violations would not have to face their accuser in municipal court under a concept called "complaint plus."
The procedure was discussed by the Cedaredge Town board during its regular meeting on May 19. Such a process would require an ordinance to be adopted, and there will be futher discussion at a future work session.
Under Complaint Plus trustees would become conduits for anonymous code enforcement and animal control complaints against neighbors. If a citizen had a complaint against a neighbor but he or she did not want to offend by filing a signed complaint, they could enlist a town trustee to make the complaint and to serve as a witness in municipal court. The trustee would have to actually observe the situation leading to the code enforcement complaint, such as weeds, junk, signage, dogs, etc., and make a judgment of its validity prior to a complaint being filed.
People are reluctant to file written complaints against their neighbors and be witnesses against them in court, noted Police Chief Dan Sanders. Having a trustee file the code enforcement complaint, instead of the actual complainant, would conceal the complaining party's identity, and would also deprive an accused neighbor from facing their accuser.
There was no discussion as to whether a policy of allowing anonymous complaints would increase or decrease the number of complaints made. But they would become the responsibility of trustees to deal with.
Chief Sanders noted that the complaint plus procedure would solve a problem found in specific areas of town where there are frequent complaints to police about code enforcement issues, but where neighbors are afraid to sign a written complaint and be a witness in municipal court. The plan, if adopted, would apply to every area of the town and to all individuals.
The Cedaredge Town Board also dealt with the following matters during the meeting:
• There will be a public ribbon cutting staged at the town's new Sewage Treatment Plant on June 16 at 2 p.m. Directions are available from Cedaredge Town Hall.
• Trustees tabled an item scheduled for action as the matter requires further discussion: an agreement for management of the town's restaurant business enterprise at the golf course.
• Trustees tabled a second item that was scheduled for board action, opting instead to discuss the matter further at a later date. It involved an agreement with Volunteers of America and use of the Civic Center dining room for senior meals.
• Trustees opted for further discussion of a third matter and tabled it for another meeting: office and storage space for the chamber of commerce.
• Trustees approved an agreement with the Surface Creek Valley Lions Club for use of Town Park facilities associated with the July 2 "American Hero Parade" event.
• Mayor Gene Welch handed out more than 20 assignments for standing committees to trustees and staff members.