The city has adopted a policy that will increase maximum fines for owners of private parking lots in the city from $100 to $750 if they do not take care of potholes.
The ordinance passed without discussion after third reading Tuesday night.
The policy, which applies to property owners and those leasing property, was not targeted at one particular owner. It is geared toward everyone, city spokesman Geno Palazzari said.
When would a fine be levied?
If the city sees there is an issue, it will send the owner a letter to include the nature of the violation, a corrective action plan and ask for the owner’s cooperation.
If the private landowner continues to ignore the issue, the city could abate the property, fix the issue itself and then charge the property owner the cost of repairs.
The city wants to work with property owners and lessees, but if all options have been explored and no one does anything about the potholes then it could levy the fine. Officials, however, insist they will work with the owners to ensure it does not get to that point.
“We are not actively going out looking for defects in parking lots or rights of way,” City Administrator Pat Davidson said.
While the fine is something he does not envision being used often, continued noncompliance could trigger it. The amount, up to $750, would then be determined by the court, Davidson said.
The city Planning Department, however, will notify violators and allow for a six-month grace period to allow for the weather and the difficulty of hiring a contractor during the winter and spring.
The ordinance officially goes into effect when it is published in the News Record’s public notices section, which is expected to take place next week, Palazzari said.