City Council considers junk ordinance today

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When code enforcement officer Becky Otis issues a citation for weeds in a yard or an abandoned vehicle, it sometimes takes months or years to resolve the problem.

Tonight, the Craig City Coun--cil will hold the first reading of changes to an ordinance that city employees say will make it easier for them to clean up Craig.

"About 85 percent of the calls I get are complaints," Otis told the City Council on March 28. "The alleys in this town are horrible. For three years, we've been warning people, with no results."

Otis estimates there are 5,000 tires in the alleyways. Another major complaint Otis hears is about the number of junk vehicles across town.

The proposal before City Council would allow the city to tow vehicles 10 days after a citation is issued if owners have not corrected the problems. A bill would be sent to the owners to cover costs of cleaning up.

Cars towed by the city will be put up for auction if owners fail to claim them.

Craig resident Jeff Corriveau welcomes the possible changes to the city ordinance.

"After taking a walk within five blocks of my house on the east side of Craig, we counted 82 cars that were unregistered or non-running," Corriveau said. "We ran out of film before we ran out of old cars, and that's just what you can see from the street.

"The major thing is to speed up the process with this ordinance change."

Corriveau said he supports the proposed administrative hearing process, in which unresponsive property owners will be billed by the city for a cleanup performed after the 10-day period has expired.

"I think what they're doing is fair. It gives the people time to clean it up," Corriveau said.

Kathy Kolbaba was the only person to speak against the changes at the last City Council meeting. She said she has cars that she uses for parts and for building racecars. She has lived in her home for 25 years. She said she already has built a fence around three sides of her property but that now, neighbors on the open side are complaining.

For Otis, the proposed changes would help with a major problem.

"There are junk vehicles in driveways and in yards. Everybody has an old vehicle," Otis said. "It's a big problem in this town."

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