Community Development Advisory Board Strives To Gather Public Input On County Code Enforcement

first_imgLos Alamos County Housing and Special Project Manager Andrew Harnden, left, speaks to KRSN Chief Operating Officer David Sutton during the Community Development Advisory Board open house Monday night in Council Chambers. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ By KIRSTEN LASKEYLos Alamos Daily Post kirsten@ladailypost.comTo get a clearer picture of what the public would like to see in the Los Alamos County’s code enforcement program, the Community Development Advisory Board (CDAB) hosted an open house Oct. 7.The purpose of the open house was to collect feedback on the nuisance ordinance of the County Code that addresses weeds, inoperable vehicles and outdoor storage of material.CDAB Chair Aaron Walker told the Los Alamos Daily Post that the board will “take the data to get a feel of what the community wants”.This is not the board’s first effort to collect public input. CDAB members also have canvassed neighborhoods throughout the County to gather public sentiment on the code enforcement program.So far, the response has been split 50-50 on whether to enforce the code more or less, Walker said.Walker said the effort to gather public input will continue. The board is considering hosting a discussion about the code enforcement program on the open forum page of the County’s website. Additionally, he said the goal is to collect input on the code enforcement program from 20 residents in 21 neighborhoods of Los Alamos County. Walker said the board set up the 21 areas to gather input from; it did not come from any formal County data.CDAB may be receiving some assistance in its work.During the Sept. 24 regular Los Alamos County Council meeting, County staff was directed to develop a proposal to hire a consultant who would work with the CDAB.Walker presented a report about the board’s work to the Council. During his presentation, Walker said CDAB needed some direction from Council on several items:Clarity on whether the code enforcement should be proactive- or complaint based;The type of recommendations Council wants and the form these recommendations should be made in;Direction on what is the vision and the goal for the code enforcement program. CDAB asked Council if the program’s purpose is to improve public safety, address aesthetics or increase property values; andMinor budget considerations for outreach and information gathering sessions the CDAB would hold regarding the County’s code enforcement program.Walker added that revising the entire County Code would be an enormous undertaking and the CDAB felt that three sections should be addressed: weeds, inoperable vehicles and outdoor storage.Council Chair Sara Scott suggested looking into hiring a consultant. She pointed out that Walker mentioned there is a need to do additional data collection in neighborhoods and have public engagement on a broader scale. She said Walker’s presentation highlighted the need for consistency and clarity in the code as well as its use of the vague, subjective language.  The code changes and outside help might be useful to tackle the challenges the code presents, Scott said.“As I look at how to move forward … these are big challenges,” she said, “… there have been a lot of changes over the last years … that means the backdrop for code enforcement is evolving.”Hiring a consultant appealed to many on Council.Councilor Randall Ryti said, “I think getting some help would be good for the board.”Councilor Katrina Martin said she is not opposed to hiring a consultant; however, she said she wants to be sure the consultant would be focused on solutions and would be given a specific path to follow.Councilor James Robinson also voiced his support for a consultant but emphasized any recommendations presented to Council should come from the CDAB and not from the consultant.Walker said he could support partnering with a consultant as long as they work with the board and not independently of it. He said he opposed changing the board’s focus. All the work the board has done for the past year has been significant, he said. Walker further pointed out that the CDAB was formed due the public backlash regarding the code enforcement program.It would be a disservice, he said, if the board was turned into a steering committee. County Councilor Randall Ryti, second from left, meets Monday evening with the public during the CDAB open house. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.comlast_img

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