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Village Vision News

Enforcement of Ordinances Studied

Friday, October 26, 2012

Enforcement of Village ordinances came under discussion as Planning and Zoning Commission members met recently to discuss a new unified development ordinance.

An ordinance is considered the local law, but former commission chair and current member Dennis Downey said four previous Village administrators faced the same unresolved issue of enforcement. He said the present commission is “…revisiting the same thing we did eight years ago” and no resolution exists other than radical action.

Fences and swimming pools drew the most discussion among commission members after Assistant Administrator/ Clerk Kathy Mizer said both topics create the greatest number of complaints and cited ordinance violations. She added business signs in residential areas, sheds and tree houses to the list before concluding that “…the majority of our residents do comply [with ordinances],”

Mike Hoffman of Teska Inc., a consulting company hired to edit and clarify the Village’s existing set of rules and regulations, facilitated the discussion.

Commission members suggested stiffer penalties ranging from turning off water service to liens on properties. However, use of the court system is not advantageous for the Village, which is responsible for paying court fees, said Village Administrator Mike Miller. He said uncollected ordinance violations, mainly for door-to-door solicitations, are stacked on his desk. “We need an enforcement mechanism,” he said. Hoffman said Forsyth, as a non-home rule municipality, lacks such authority.

Hoffman will continue discussions with commission members Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in Village Hall.

He also will move forward with a review of the remaining sections of the code, including subdivision regulations and also search for a possible resolution to the enforcement dilemma that might be used by other comparable communities. Presiding at the November meeting will be newly elected chair Bill Busbey. Commission member Colleen Brinkoetter will serve as vice-chair after declining her initial election as chair. She cited her real estate career as a perceived conflict of interest.

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