About half of violations for tent structures without permits
BY KEVIN BONESKE
On a three-and-a-half-hour drive through Rhinelander with city administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner earlier this month, Terry Williams, who heads up the city’s inspection department, said he found 43 properties with “ordinance issues.”
Williams informed the city’s Protection of Persons and Property Committee at Tuesday’s meeting that the inspection department was able to identify the property owners following the July 11 inspections and sent out a letter and a copy of the inspection form notifying each property owner where a violation was discovered.
“Everybody had until July 29 to comply,” said Williams, who noted he would be riding around the city on that day to see whether those property owners then complied with the city code related to nuisances/property maintenance violations. “Anybody that didn’t comply, I will turn over to the police department for citations.”
Williams has noted the citywide inspections involve a “more proactive process than reactive” in dealing with nuisances, which before had been dealt with upon receiving a complaint.
“We drove almost every city alley that we could,” he said. “I would say we had a pretty good view of even backyards, unless people had a fence up.”
The violations specifically listed on the form Williams used include trash/debris, wood pile not properly maintained, parking in the front yard, collection of garbage and refuse, abandoned, junked or dismantled vehicles and a tent structure for which a permit is required but hasn’t been issued.
Williams said the top violation he found related to tent structures, which made up about half of the total violations.
“The biggest one people (written up for violations) are screaming about right now is the tent structure thing,” he said. “These people are upset.”
Of the instances that weren’t cited as violations, Aschenbrenner said they included children’s toys cluttered in a yard.
“We didn’t write those ones up, because it’s not junk, it’s not trash, it’s not a tent structure, they’re toys,” she said.
Williams said the media coverage in recent months related to what constitutes a nuisance in the city “has really helped educate our public, because there’s a lot of properties I know that have been habitual problems…and it’s cleaned up, so that’s helped a lot.”