ROMNEY — A sweeping new nuisance law is halfway to passage here.
The Romney Town Council approved the 2nd reading of the ordinance at Monday night’s meeting. A public hearing and 3rd-and-final reading will be held at next month’s council meeting, 7 p.m., Sept. 9.
The new rule replaces pieces of older ordinances, defining public nuisances in general and setting out specific prohibitions like:
• Garbage “which is not secured from all animals including flies and vermin;”
• Upholstered furniture or carpet left outdoors;
• Properties used for prostitution, drugs or illegal drinking;
• Structures “so dilapidated or out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human use;”
• Loud noise
• Junked or dismantled cars in sight for more than 10 days.
“It’s a little more comprehensive, I’d say, because of the way it addresses how it affects public health and safety,” Mayor Beverly Keadle said.
The ordinance, generally, prohibits acts, property use, jobs or conditions that damage or endanger “the comfort, health, repose or safety of the public” or “greatly offends” public morals.
The plan gives the chief of police authority to cite people for creating a specific nuisance and requires the citation to be remedied in no more than 10 days.
“This gives officers something to hang their hats on,” Keadle said.
Nuisances that aren’t remedied by owners in time could then be fixed by the town.
Property owners in violation can be fined $500 foe a day in municipal court. The old ordinances capped penalties at $250.