Trustees Special Meeting: January22, 2019

by Pitkin News january 28, 2019

COUNCIL CONTEMPLATES CODE ENFORCEMENT

On January 22 the Pitkin Town Council hosted an open discussion with local residents concerning the possibility of local government actually enforcing the numerous ordinances that have been adopted over the years. The discussion of actual enforcement comes out of the ongoing short term rental controversy which appears to be headed to some sort of compromise resolution. In December the Town Council committed itself to taking steps to identify compromise measures that might resolve the nearly 5 - year old community debate. As discussion began at the January council meeting it was noted that several Trustees had received community input that there was no point in establishing a compromise STR ordinance if there would be no enforcement. Before proceeding to hammer out a compromise ordinance the Council agreed to hold the enforcement discussion which began January 15.

The purpose of the community discussion of code enforcement is to determine whether or not the Town Council has the will to enforce existing and future ordinances intended to improve the quality of life in Pitkin and to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. A number of ordinances on the books regulate camping, pets, ditches, nuisances, STR advertising, zoning, and septic systems. While each of those regulations provide enforcement procedures and fines through Municipal Court there is no actual enforcement officer designated and no way in which to actually enforce the regulations.

Opening comments by Council members indicated agreement that existing ordinances should be reviewed to determine what enforcement guidelines are actually necessary and important. The concept of a code enforcement committee was introduced and it was noted that a qualified law enforcement officer or trained town marshal would be needed to enforce traffic laws. After opening discussion public comments were solicited.

Comments from the public indicated concern that past enforcement required neighbors to police neighbors and many find this inappropriate. Traffic concerns of speeding and underage OHV operation were noted and the idea of speed bumps was raised. It was suggested that the Sheriff should be contacted to determine if there is a way for patrol deputies to become involved in enforcement in Pitkin.

Following public comment the Council agreed it needs to determine what codes really need to be enforced and if there is a commitment to implement an enforcement procedure. It was agreed there are two separate categories of enforcement needs, one is traffic and the other is code enforcement of regulations intended to promote a quiet, respectful community environment.

The Town Council will continue the enforcement discussion in February. In the meantime, the Council will be involved in some addition research on the issue. This will include contacting the Sheriff to determine what assistance may be available, further consideration of the code enforcement committee concept, review of possible costs for operation of Municipal Court, and serious thought about the will to enforce.

You may listen to the audio recording of this meeting by following this Link.