City council takes step toward citing illegal tags
On Monday night, the Baldwin City Council discussed two small items regarding illegal vehicle tags and an unsafe structure during a short meeting.
The city council approved a first reading for an ordinance regarding vehicle license, illegal tag and display. The other approval set the time and place for a hearing regarding a reported unsafe structure at 1020 Elm Street.
The ordinance that was approved for second reading states “it shall be unlawful for any person to park, stop, or stand a vehicle, motor vehicle, or motorized bicycle on the streets, alleys, public areas, park grounds, public or private parking lots or other publicly accessible areas of the City if such vehicle, motor vehicle, or motorized bicycle displays an unlawful state license plate.”
“Right now, we can't write a ticket to someone who has an expired tag if that vehicle is on public property,” Baldwin City Administrator Chris Lowe said. “You have to wait until they move it and then you can get them.”
Baldwin City Police Chief Greg Neis said most of the time, they will see an expired tag on car on the street, which usually doesn't have insurace, but they can't do anything. This ordinance, which will be up for a second reading at the Dec. 5 meeting, was taken from the city of Eudora.
“The Eudora ordinance is modeled after the Lawrence ordinance,” Neis said. “The city council is looking at passing a similar ordinance.”
The other business on Monday was regarding an unsafe structure that has been uninhabited for months. The city's records indicate the utilities have been disconnected since January 2010. The mobile home continues to deteriorate and is unfit for human habitation. The discontinuance of the use of the mobile home has rendered it nonconforming as per Baldwin City Zoning Regulations.
“If you've seen it, you know it's in pretty bad condition,” Lowe said. “What we're trying to do is get that corner cleaned up. Now we're just setting a date and time for a hearing.”
The city council unanimously approved setting the date and time for a hearing. It will be at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17, because it has to be 30 days after the city publishes the hearing in the Signal twice.
Lowe encouraged city council members to base their decision on the evidence at the hearing, instead of going to see the property.
“The city council will sit in a quasi judicial capacity on Jan. 17,” Baldwin City Attorney Matt Hoy. said. “You'll be making a decision based on what findings and facts the staff presents to you. I emphasize that there's no pre-conceived conclusion. You have to receive the facts from the staff. You'll reach your own conclusions about the condition of the property.”