Nuisance Ordinance Back Before Council
Aldermen Randy Stroik and Mike Phillips at a Council re-organizational meeting in April. (City-Times photo)
By Brandi Makuski
Stevens Point officials tonight will once again hear discussion on a proposed public nuisance ordinance.
The ordinance, which was turned down by the Common Council last November after widespread backlash from area landlords, who say it unfairly targets property owners with no control over tenants’ behavior. Police Chief Kevin Ruder that the ordinance is intended to be an additional tool for law enforcement to curb nuisance activities that result in repeated complaints to his department. Under the ordinance, property owners- to include commercial properties- would be required to put together a nuisance abatement plan in cooperation with the police after 3 citations for offenses occurring on the same property within 30 days.
Ruder told the Council officers often are called to respond to loud parties in the residential neighborhoods surrounding the university.
“Often times we’ll stand at the door knocking, but the music is so loud no one can hear us,” Ruder told the Council in November. “We can’t enter a property without a warrant, or without probable cause of an immediate threat, so in that situation there’s nothing we can do about it. This ordinance would give us another option to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Some alderpersons were in favor of the ordinance provided it was used fairly.
“I think it’s very important we put the fine on the tenants and not the landlords,” said Alderman Tony Patton. “If there’s an offense at an apartment or rental property, give them a fine and that’ll take care of a lot of the problems.”
Others said it was a good step but didn’t go far enough.
“One of the many calls I received on this issue, the caller said (ordinance) offenses should be tied to their driver’s license. That’ll get their attention,” said Alderman Roger Trzebiatowski “Apartment owners’ hands are tied- if they want to evict a tenant, often times it takes a year to get there.”
City Attorney Logan Beveridge on Monday said the ordinance was coming back before Council Members without any revisions because a member of the Old Main Neighborhood Association (OMNA) had requested it.
“And I’ve had talks with one alderperson who said they have since changed their mind on this issue since it was last voted on,” Beveridge said.
The Public Protection Committee meets at 6:15 PM on Monday, Aug. 11 at Lincoln Center, 1519 Water Street. The public is welcome.