Nuisance control, clean-up a work in progress

By Per Peterson

The City of Tracy is continuing its focus on city beautification on myriad levels.

From a three-pronged approach to dealing with different nuisance issues, to the creation of a parks board, the City remains steadfast in its quest to clean up Tracy.

At Monday night’s city council meeting, Tracy City Administrator Erik Hansen said that while the City has yet to officially implement a new nuisance policy, the beautification goal remains intact.

“It’s still in the planning stages,” Hansen said. Council member Jeri Schons asked if there was a way to make it easier for residents of Tracy to file nuisance complaints. There are currently three levels of nuisance areas that are handled by three different people: Public Works Director Shane Daniels, Community Development Director Jeff Carpenter and Tracy Police Chief Jason Lichty.

“I think there’s still confusion,” Schons said. “We need to set what our expectations are and educate the public.”

“Anybody can bring a complaint to me,” Lichty said.

Hansen said the City’s preference in the long term is to have one point of contact — not just for nuisance issues, but for City services in general.

“In the end, I really think you’ll end up seeing this building code issue and nuisance violations blended into one contact, but we haven’t worked our way through this yet,” said Hansen. “Until then, you can certainly call the chief, or you can call Shane, or the (City) office. There’s probably a lot of education that needs to be done.”

Another question offered by Schons was where is the line between a resident’s right and a potential code violation. Hansen said there’s a balance between a homeowners’ right to have their property a certain way and having their property affect neighbors’ property values and quality of life.

“That’s a question for you as a city council … when does it get bad enough that it’s a code violation?” Hansen said. “Sometimes it’s a judgement call.”

On a similar topic, council member George Landuyt said he received a call from a resident pertaining to personal trash and recycling bins being left on the road an extended period of time. Landuyt asked if there is any ordinance or law that would prevent residents from leaving their bins on the road; Hansen said there is currently nothing in the City’s ordinance that puts a timeline on when residents need to collect their bins.

“We can certainly put a requirement in that people take them in by a certain time of day,” Hansen said. “There are communities that I’ve lived in where you have to put your garbage away — in some cases even around the side of the house — by a certain time or it’s a code violation.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.