Tue, Oct. 15

Jerome nuisance abatement an uphill climb

JEROME – Residents of Jerome might ask: what is the technical definition of a public nuisance?

The answer is ‘nuisance’ is a broad category – a public nuisance can be structures or objects that pose a fire, health or safety hazard or anything unsightly, such as piles of junk or graffiti. This includes dilapidated buildings, abandoned inoperable vehicles and trash.

At the regular February 13 meeting, Jerome council approved an ordinances amending abatement language in the Jerome Town Code.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Kyle Dabney, in the role of the enforcement officer, has the discretion to bring civil violations to the courts. However, he avoids “scare tactics.”

Dabney has been working on the abatement of public nuisances since last summer. He says the abatement process has been “both good and bad.”

While most people cooperate with Dabney, some residents have had less inclination to do so.

“There are people who have been telling me what I want to hear. And I can tell. Those are the situations where I make phone calls and nothing changes,” Dabney said.

Before sending out a violation letter, Dabney’s first step is a phone call. If the property owner does not make any changes at that point, a warning letter followed by a violation letter is mailed.

The town’s next move is to involve the court system.

Dabney says he believes his gives plenty of warning and tries to communicate with residents. The majority of phone calls and letters result in clean up measures. The abatement process is slow-going, but is moving forward, according to Dabney.

“My goal was to make phone call first and see what’s going on. Are there extenuating circumstances I don’t understand?” Dabney said. “If it’s really serious I give them reasonable amount of time to correct the problem. I ask those people to communicate with me.”

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