A proposed replacement for Boulder’s junk vehicle ordinance, which has been criticized for being vague, has been drafted. A public hearing to solicit feedback is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at City Hall.
The title states the expanded scope of the proposed ordinance. The phrase “junk vehicle” isn’t included; “community decay,” “beautification” and “upkeep” are. In addition to junk vehicles the body of the document covers buildings, weeds, debris, garbage and enforcement including fines.
“It shall be unlawful for any person, within the limits of the City to throw or deposit rubbish, debris or junk of any kind in any of the streets or alleys, or upon the lots adjoining to any streets or alleys, or allow the same to accumulate upon the premises occupied by any person so as to become offensive, injurious or dangerous to health,” the proposed ordinance states in part. “Real property owners shall be responsible to maintain the same from the centerline of the alley, if any, to the center of the adjoining right of way.”
“I see it as a great thing for the community,” said City councilor Michael “Bear” Taylor at the Jan. 21 meeting of the City Council. “It is not a way for us to force people to clean yards but to encourage a different mindset.”
He hinted at that mindset during the City Council’s Oct. 21, 2019 meeting — where the 1980 ordinance was discussed and Taylor offered to spearhead revamping the ordinance — when he said “Junk cars is an issue, but if we really want to get people to want to move here, we need the whole town to look better, not just driveways.”
Among other issues that surfaced was that it gave the Police chief broad yet vague powers that inhibit enforcement.
“This right here will finally give Joe [Canzona] the tools he needs to enforce” the ordinance, Taylor said at the Jan. 21 meeting, referring to a draft of the ordinance he said also contains “a lot of ways we can help people” meet its requirements.
Those tools include definitions of offending junk vehicles, buildings, weeds, debris and garbage, and steps people can take to shield such items from public view to comply.
The proposed ordinance also establishes the Police chief’s ability to enforce: “When the City of Boulder receives a written, signed complaint by two or more people that a condition of community decay exists, the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, shall inspect the property alleged to be in violation of this Ordinance to determine whether there is a violation of this Ordinance.”
Further: “...the abatement may be undertaken by the City and the Owner shall receive a certified bill of the costs associated thereto, upon which appeal as earlier stated shall lie.”
Taylor said he and others examined ordinances from elsewhere and “chose from each one what we thought worked best for Boulder.”
Residents can pick up a copy of the ordinance for review at City Hall or by downloading a copy from The Monitor Online at http://bit.ly/revised_ordinance.