City of Fernery, Residents Discuss 'Nuisance Ordinance' - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

City of Fernley, Residents Discuss 'Nuisance Ordinance'

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A proposed nuisance ordinance in the City of Fernley is intended to clean up neighborhoods and make them safer.

It would require residents to maintain their property, cleaning up piles of debris, securing vacant buildings, and getting cars or junk out of the front yard.

Flyers were posted around the town that say the a proposal would give compliance officials the right to enter someone's private property without permission.

But council members say that's just not the case and that people are getting bad information.

"It says nowhere in there where people can just come into your home without permission," Fernley Councilman Dan McCassie said.

Officials say the proposed ordinance would make Fernley a safer and cleaner place.

"This really addresses blight in neighborhoods," Fernley City Manager Chris Good said. "Piles of debris in the front yard, boarded up windows, things that are really dangerous like a sewage leak,"

Some Fernley City Council members say these issues drive down property values for many residents and cause safety hazards. And that having the authority to enforce codes that already exist, protects home owners from what they call "bad neighbors."

"This is a way for the City of Fernley to approach these people, knock and talk, certified letter if that's what it takes, even a citation if that's what it takes to get things cleaned up," McCassie said.

McCassie points out things like piles of equipment that sit in a driveway for months, or a car that he says has been parked in the front yard for more than six months.

"Everybody in Fernley drives by it and it's starting to really make our town look dumpy," McCassie said.

But some residents say private property is none of the city's business. And they still have concerns, two days after the nuisance ordinance was discussed.

"One guy was there, 'I park my cars on my lawn and they're staying on my lawn. If I have to get a federal injunction against you guys, they're not going anywhere," says Ernest Duarte. "It's mine. I keep it up. They've got no right unless they've got a warrant."

Charlotte Black says she is concerned about overgrown weeds that create fire hazards.

"We don't want a cigarette thrown out and then have a fire started," Black said.

Black was against the nuisance ordinance until she read the document.

"You want to see nice, clean, safe neighborhoods where you know your children would want to go out and play," Black said.

"We have a lot of education to do but we also have a lot of listening to do," Good said. "To hear people's concerns about the draft ordinance."

One of those questions is if the same rule should apply for different zones, like a golf course community and a farm within the city limits.

As for entering someone's property, a code officer would have to get a warrant, just like a police officer would. And officials say it would have to be a pretty serious case for that to happen.

For more information on the ordinances:

http://www.cityoffernley.org/DocumentCenter/View/18079

http://www.cityoffernley.org/DocumentCenter/View/18078

Written by Paul Nelson

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