The Farmington City Council is working to give city staff more legal authority to enforce codes that manage such problems.
“Up until now we have had no real power to do anything about people who ignore city ordinances that have to do with eyesores,” said Farmington Mayor Scott Harbertson. “We are now getting into a situation where we can actually have some teeth in these types of ordinances so if people refuse to solve problems we can actually do something about it.”
The problem is not just about keeping the city clean and to deal with eyesores. It is about the safety of the residents.
“Anytime you have old junk cars, overgrown vegetation and things like that it can be a safety issue and a fire issue,” Harbertson said. “We want to keep everyone safe.”
The mayor first wanted to point out that most residents of Farmington are extremely respectful of one another and the city as a whole. There are situations, however, where the city has to enforce certain codes and soon it will be easier.
“We have a very nice city here,” Harbertson said. “People are for the most part very considerate of one another and for the city. But we do have occasions where we have problems and we just want to be able to enforce our rules.”
When those situations do arise, an enforcement official would have the authority to cite those in violation. Enforcement officials could be code enforcement officers, zoning officers, police officers or building inspector officials. There will be a process from contacting those in violation to ultimately levying fines against those who refuse to deal with the problem.
“We’re not trying to be mean to people and the first note would be more of an FYI,” Harbertson said. “But when people just ignore the notices we will be in a better position to take action against those who will not fix the problems.”
There are also special circumstances that will be considered. Council member Jim Talbot pointed out that when he owned property out of state there were occasions when he had no idea that his property was in violation of a city code. Once notified, Talbot said he always took care of the problem at hand, but sometimes it took extra time.
“I know we have people who have properties in Farmington but live out of state,” Talbot said. “We need to be sure to respect those people and assist them when they are in any violation.
“Most of the times those people don’t even know there’s a problem.”