News

Nuisance properties catch council’s eye

By CHARLES MELTON

Editor

Although the city of Bremerton’s proposed parks levy failed in November, another piece of the city’s efforts to improve the quality of life took another step forward Wednesday night.

The entire Bremerton City Council got its first look at a proposed chronic nuisance property ordinance, which if approved by the council, would give city officials another tool to remedy known problem areas.

“I can think of four or five properties this would affect,” Bremerton Police Department community resource officer Andy Oakley said. “I don’t see this as a big problem.”

The proposed ordinance is modeled after one currently being used in Spokane with favorable results, Oakley said.

Under the proposed ordinance, the owner of any property, which is the subject of three documented complaints with the police department during a 60-day period will receive a notice from the police department seeking corrective action to remedy the situation, he said.

“We would ask them to come in on a voluntary basis and see what can be done to correct the situation,” he said.

If the landlord or property owner doesn’t work with the city to resolve the situation, the complaint would be forwarded to the city attorney’s office for further sanctions in Kitsap County Superior Court, Oakley said.

The property owner could be forced to pay $100 per day that the property remains in violation of the city ordinance or in the worst case scenario there would be an abatement of the property, Oakley said.

Councilwoman Carol Arends said that instead of viewing the proposed ordinance as a repeal of the city’s existing chronic nuisance property ordinance, the new regulations should supplement the current enforcement efforts.

Oakley agreed and said that the main difference between the existing ordinance and the proposed one is that the proposed regulation allows the police department to take a more active role in addressing the problem.

In reviewing the proposed ordinance, Councilman Brad Gehring asked how multi-family residential units would be handled.

“Would it be the entire complex or just the individual unit?” Gehring asked.

Oakley said the new regulations would be enforced on the non-compliant unit and added that the apartment manager and other residents in the complex would probably be glad to see it remedied.

The proposed ordinance will go before the council for a public hearing on Jan. 16, which is part of the adoption process.

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