Published 12:31 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018
The Kenbridge Town Council voted to approve two ordinances related to minor changes on the town’s zoning ordinance, and penalties for maintenance code violations during its meeting June 17.
Town Manager Robyn Fowler confirmed the result of the votes and public hearings.
“No comments were received against the codes,” Fowler said.
A public notice from the town cited that one public hearing focused on adopting and enacting an ordinance “that establishes penalties for violations of the property maintenance code for the Town of Kenbridge.”
Fowler said the penalties are aimed toward blighted properties, an issue the town has worked to fix in recent years.
Fowler said while the town does not have an exact definition for blighted properties, she said blighted properties typically include residences, businesses or buildings that are in serious states of disrepair, which can include having broken windows, flaking paint and exposed siding.
She said blighted properties and maintenance code violations are defined and inspected by the Town’s Property Maintenance Code Official, Cedric Stovall.
Fowler said Stovall, after finding a residence, business or building considered a blighted property, will notify the owner by sending a letter asking that the issue be addressed.
Fowler said if the owner refuses to cooperate or fix the property issue, the town, through its new ordinance, can issue civil penalties if people continue to violate the maintenance code after receiving notice from the town.
The document cited that the first ticket or summons, per day for failure to obtain any required inspection would come to $100. The second and subsequent ticket or summons per day for failing to organize an inspection would come to $350.
For any other violations of the property maintenance code, the first ticket or summons per day would be $100, and second or subsequent tickets or summons, per day, would be $350.
The document cited that people can appear in person or in writing by mail to the town before a trial date.
“Any person so appearing may enter a waiver of trial, admit liability and pay the civil penalty established for the offense charged. Such persons shall be informed of their right to stand trial and that a signature to and an admission of liability will have the same force and effect as a judgment of court,” the document cited. “The violator shall also agree in writing to abate or remedy the violation within six months after the date of payment of the civil penalty.”
People who do not request a waiver of trial would be tried by the general district court. The court would then typically order owners of residential or nonresidential units in violation of the code to abate, or correct the situation within a certain time frame established by the court.
Changes to the town’s zoning ordinance, Fowler said, include grammatical changes, and included revised definitions for modular and mobile homes.
Mobile homes, according to the amended ordinance, are typically 320 or more square feet when erected on-site, designed to be used as a single-family dwelling with or without a permanent foundation and includes plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems in the structure.
Modular homes, according to the amended ordinance, are built in sections at a factory, and the sections are transported to the building site on carriers, and then joined together by licensed contractors.
“Modular homes are not mobile or manufactured homes and they are constructed by the same standards and codes, as stick built homes,” the ordinance cited. “The modulars in Town must have a permanent perimeter foundation system constructed with concrete and masonry components, which comply and adhere to local