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Elkhart councilman wants to review rental registration, code enforcement policies

Council president organizing task force for both issues to resolve questions and possibly refine policies.

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 8:39 p.m.

ELKHART — City council president Ron Troyer said he wants to establish community-based committees that would review policies involving the city’s rental registration and code enforcement.

He said both issues are a concern with some residents, land owners and council members.

Rental registration has been a hot button issue for landlords since it was adopted in 2006 and has been a point of debate dating back several years earlier.

The idea behind rental registration is to provide information for fire and police in case of an emergency, according to building commissioner Denny Correll.

Some contend the city has struggled with compliance with landlords.

Deadline for the annual registration is Aug. 1.

Troyer said he’s heard complaints that code enforcement has been selective and inconsistent in its approach in handling various issues ranging from uncut lawns to potential violations involving the condition of buildings.

The concerns Troyer said he’s hearing comes about a year after the city named Correll the new building commissioner in an attempt to beef up attempts to clean up the city.

Correll said he was not familiar with Troyer’s plans and would prefer to talk with him about it before commenting.

Troyer said both issues are worthy of a review.

“We’ve got a lot of people concerned, but they don’t know the whole story.” Troyer said. “The only way they’re going to find it out is research it and hear both sides of the concerns.”

Councilman Dave Osborn said he’s willing to look at changes, especially the rental registration program.

He said some people would like to see revenues from the program used for things other than the purchase of police cars, which is the current policy.

Osborne said he’d also like to see the fine for failure to register decreased from the current $100 level.

Troyer said he’s actively seeking people to participate in the two task forces and said he’d like a cross section of representatives. To learn more, his number is 574-370-8647. His email is ron.troyer@coei.org.

The city council also will take a look at a proposed bike ordinance July 24.

A council committee will review a proposal that would require motorists to provide a 3-foot buffer when passing bicyclists on the road.

The plan was drafted at the request of several residents and the cooperation of the city administration.

Another issue Troyer said he’d like to look at is the policy on block parties.

The city grants permits for block parties that can include closing off portions of public roads, but Troyer said city officials received calls recently over complaints that a permitted party last weekend lasted several days and brought with it concerns about noise and parking.

Troyer said the party on Stevens Avenue began Wednesday and continued through Saturday, often late into the night.

Troyer said he’s aware of other abuses of the permit policy.

He said he’d like to see the city tighten up the policy somehow to avoid such circumstances.


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