Charlestown City Council Meeting 01/22/2018

The following is a summary of the City Council meeting from January 22, 2018. This is the first council meeting of the 2018 year:

I. Call to Order – Pledge of Allegiance led by Tony Jackson

II. Invocation – led by L.C. McCauley of the Charlestown Church of God

III. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – All members of the council present.

IV. Approval of Agenda – There was no motion called to approve the agenda at this meeting.

V.-VII. Approval of Minutes from December 4, 2017 Meeting, Claims and the Payroll Allowance Docket from 12/31/2017 to 01/22/2018 were encapsulated into one motion.

  • Motion Made by Brian Hester
  • Motion Seconded by Ted Little
  • No discussion on all three issues
  • All three issues passed unanimously

VIII – Public Comment – none scheduled

IX. Ordinances and Resolutions –

  • Ordinance 2018-OR-1 Petition to Vacate Public Way – This was the second and final reading of this ordinance carried over from the last council meeting.
    • Motion to approve made by Eric Vaughn
    • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
    • During discussion Mayor Hall clarified that the city is not required to provide a survey of the property being vacated as it is the owner’s responsibility to mark boundaries.
    • Motion received unanimous approval.
  • Ordinance 2018-OR-5 Ordinance Amending and Clarifying the Unsafe Structures Ordinance of the City of Charlestown (Ordinance 2007-OR-01).
  • Ordinance 2018-OR-6 Ordinance Amending and Clarifying the Property Maintenance Code for the City of Charlestown, Indiana (Ordinance 2008-OR-01)
    • City Attorney Michael Gillenwater spoke on these combined ordinances. He noted that in 2007 the Common Council adopted the Unsafe Structure Ordinance (2007-OR-1) as a means of adopting Indiana’s Unsafe Building Law for the City. This is a general ordinance that allows agents of the city to identify unsafe, dangerous, and nuisance properties and structures in town. The ordinance granted the city the right to issue fines and even to condemn properties when situations determined that that to be the best course of action. This ordinance did not include specific and clear language to say what classifies as unsafe and unhealthy. In 2008 the City adopted the Property Maintenance Code (2008-OR-01) to provide very specific descriptions for maintaining all properties in town. This ordinance applies to residential and non-residential properties as well as owner occupied and rental properties. The Ordinance gives land and property owners specific rules for compliance. Remedies to enforce the code include fines, liens on the property, or demolition where necessary. The revisions to these ordinances proposed at this meeting clarify the language of the codes. In response to the recent litigation between residents of Pleasant Ridge and the City, the revised languages clarifies and removes ambiguity on the enforcement of these ordinances. No technical requirements are changed in this revision. The revised language clarifies that the two ordinances can overlap but work independently of one another. The revisions remove outdated information such as references to Charlestown City Court, which is no longer in existence. The ordinances clarify the penalties associated with non-compliance and grant the city the right to issue fines immediately with no grace period allowed for an owner to come into compliance. The revisions also clarify the process the City must use to notify owners of non-compliance and the appeal process. It was noted that the Property Maintenance Code takes precedence over the Unsafe Building Ordinance.
    • These ordinances will require public hearing which will be published in the News and Tribune.
    • Motion to approve first reading of 2018-OR-5 made by Ted Little, seconded by Eric Vaughn, no discussion followed. Vote in favor from Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, and Eric Vaughn. Vote against by Tina Barnes.
    • Motion to approve first reading of 2018-OR-6 made by Eric Vaughn, seconded by Mike Vaughn, and no discussion followed. Vote in favor from Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, and Eric Vaughn. Vote against by Tina Barnes.

X. Mayor entertained motion to adjourn. Motion made by Eric Vaughn and seconded by Ted Little. All approved.

An audio link to the full meeting can be found here (Duration 16:30): 

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Author: Treva Hodges

Resident of Charlestown, Indiana. Advocate.

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