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Sparks City Council Meeting 2/13/2017

General Business: 9.7

Title: Consideration of and possible direction to staff to initiate amendments to Title 2 - Administration and Personnel and Title 7 - Health and Welfare of the Sparks Municipal Code.
Petitioner/Presenter: City of Sparks Councilman Smith/Jim Rundle, Planning Manager
Recommendation: Instruct staff to initiate amendments to Title 2 - Administration and Personnel and Title 7 - Health and Welfare of the Sparks Municipal Code.
Financial Impact: NA
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
    
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

The City of Sparks adopted the Sparks property preservation code in August of 2014.   The ordinance had an effective date of January of 2015.  This provided staff time to inform the public of the impacts of the new ordinance.  Staff has now been utilizing the property preservation code for 25 months.  The property preservation code provided different city functions including the Code Enforcement, Building, and Fire, the ability to assess fines against property owners who do not rectify code violations.   The mechanisms provided in the property preservation code provided staff a tool for gaining compliance from property owners that would have otherwise been far more challenging.   After substantial use of the property preservation code staff has identified some inconsistencies in the procedures for assessing fines in Title 2, and the abatement procedures identified in Title 7.   Staff believes that with some minor changes to the ordinance the public will have a clearer picture of potential fines that can be assessed against their property if they do not comply with the Municipal Code.



Background:

In November of 2013, the City Council directed staff to work on a set of property conservation amendments to the Sparks Municipal Code to address some of the most common complaints the City received but lacked sufficient authority in the code to effectively mitigate (e.g. inoperable vehicles, dirt front yards, and boarded windows).  At that time, the City Council also directed staff to bring forward proposed changes to the Municipal Code to grant enforcement officers the ability to issue civil citations to those failing to correct violations and, equally important, to provide a process to appeal violation notices, citations, fines and fees.

In August of 2014 the City Council adopted changes to Chapter 7.16 (Nuisances) including the addition of a “Property Preservation” section as well as changes to Chapter 20.35 of (Recreational Vehicle Storage Storage) of the Sparks Municipal Code.

In January 2015, the City Council adopted ordinance 2507 to provide city officials the authority to issue civil citations.  This ordinance also provided for an adjudication process including administrative hearings and an appeal process.  The mechanisms provided in the property preservation code provided staff a tool for gaining compliance from property owners that would have otherwise been far more challenging.   After substantial use of the property preservation code staff has identified some inconsistencies in the procedures for assessing fines in Title 2, and the abatement procedures identified in Title 7.   Staff believes that with some minor changes to the ordinance the public will have a clearer picture of potential fines that can be assessed against their property if they do not comply with the Municipal Code.

 



Analysis:

See Background section



Alternatives:

The City Council may decide not to direct staff to prepare a code amendment.



Recommended Motion:

I move to direct staff to initiate a code amendment to Title 2 - Administration and Personnel and Title 7 - Health and Welfare of the Sparks Municipal Code to create a clearer definition of the civil citation process, address inconsistencies with other municipal code titles, and providing other matters properly relating thereto.




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