Friday, August 20, 2004
Nuisance Abatement in American Fork
For about a year I've been involved in American Fork's Nuisance Abatement Committee. We met regularly for a while, and our numbers included several city officers, along with a number of "ordinary people" - as in, not city officials. (Do genuinely "ordinary people" get involved in city government here?) But the officials decided we weren't getting anything done - which was essentially true, and I think it is also what certain city officials hoped would be the case - so they quit coming. But we were invited to keep meeting anyway, which we did.
Within a few months, after a lot of discussion and some study of how other communities handle their nuisance abatement, we did something I'm sure we were never intended to do. We produced a report, which recommended a new nuisance abatement ordinance for the City. (We already have some laws on the books and an awkward, essentially unused mechanism for enforcing them, so this recommendation is actually to replace what we have.)
Eventually, a few months ago, we made an oral presentation to the City Council. Now the Committee is quietly trying to get the Council to do something about it - specifically, to schedule a couple of hearings prior to two consecutive regular Council meetings, then to schedule a vote. It may happen sometime soon.
Meanwhile, the Nuisance Abatement Officer has started working with the Police Department, not independently - with reported positive effects. But we still need a new ordinance with some teeth.
Copyright 2004 by David Rodeback.