Starke County Commissioners Review Proposed Nuisance Ordinance

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners want the planning commission to take another crack at a proposed nuisance and unsafe building ordinance. It aims to regulate what is and is not allowed in unincorporated areas of Starke County in the interest of health, safety and welfare.

County attorney Marty Lucas has reviewed the plan commission’s proposal and offered several suggestions. For starters he thinks the enforcement needs to be handled through the court in order to ensure land owners receive due process rather than through administrative enforcement. Additionally Lucas says the state’s Right to Farm law needs to be incorporated into the proposal. It sets allowable practices for farming operations and protects farm operators from lawsuits.

The proposed ordinance addresses things like inoperable vehicles, junk, debris, dangerous structures and improperly maintained wastewater disposal systems and wells. It also finds the accumulation of pet and animal feces to be a nuisance, along with vermin infestations, graffiti and the defacement of public and private property and the storage of construction materials or an accumulation of garbage.

Rather than enacting an across-the-board policy, Lucas suggested considerations based on the land use. Plan Commission Director Terry Stephenson believes the proposed regulations should apply equally to all and feels common sense enforcement in a better route.

After discussing the matter, the commissioners voted unanimously to send the ordinance back to the planning commission for further study.