OUR VIEW: Siding with city on recent nuisance law woesBut property ownership brings with it certain responsibilities. If Lanning and the City Council aren’t firm, they’ll be overrun with excuses, special requests and, even, sincere and heartfelt pleas, like those heard Monday evening.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
It is difficult to find fault with Jeff Lanning as he duly performs the job he was hired to do.
We know Lanning, the city of Mitchell’s code enforcement officer, is taking some heat lately after handing out tickets to residents he feels have various nuisances on their property.
A little background: Lanning last year was put on the city’s payroll to find and, sometimes, fine those who are breaking city codes. That means those who aren’t timely about shoveling their sidewalks, about cleaning up junk or those who allow their lawns to become overgrown are at risk of running afoul of Lanning, who spent much of his life as a state trooper with the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
Recently, Lanning — more precisely, the process — has been the subject of complaints to the City Council. Monday, the council heard from two women who feel the nuisance property code enforcement is too heavy-handed. They also feel that 14 days to fix the trouble isn’t long enough.
One woman said she doesn’t have the money to paint the home for which she was cited.
We always have known the city’s choice to hire a code-enforcement officer will result in difficult circumstances. Certainly, it is a bit heartbreaking to hear from women who don’t have the money to fix up their property or who are not physically able to do the job themselves.
But property ownership brings with it certain responsibilities. If Lanning and the City Council aren’t firm, they’ll be overrun with excuses, special requests and, even, sincere and heartfelt pleas, like those heard Monday evening.
As Councilman Mel Olson said, the appeal deadline required by Lanning — two weeks — isn’t even the code enforcer’s decision. That moratorium is set in city law, as determined by the council itself.
The perception is that city nuisance codes are being more rigorously enforced this spring, according to testimony at Monday’s council meeting.
We don’t see it as perception, but as fact. And it’s precisely what Lanning was hired to do.