Rhinelander to enforce nuisance ordinance with citywide inspections
Violators to be sent forms to take corrective measures
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The city of Rhinelander is going to step up enforcement of its city code related to nuisances/property maintenance violations with citywide inspections of properties.
Rhinelander fire chief Terry Williams, who also heads up the city inspection department, informed the Protection of Persons and Property Committee on Tuesday of his plan to use a carbon copy form to note those violations and send to the identified property owners.
The violations specifically listed next to check boxes on the form 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.
“These are the most common ones that we write up,” said Williams, who noted the city in the past has dealt with nuisances in which a complaint has been received. “How this (citywide inspection) is going to work is I’m going to ride around the city…. We’ll put the date (of the inspection on the form), check a problem or violation (and list) corrective measures and a compliance date. Then this sheet will have to go back to the inspection office.”
He said the form would then be mailed out to the property owner, who ultimately has the responsibility of correcting the problem.
Williams said he expects it will take a full day to ride around the city and do the inspections, which he noted after the meeting would take place this summer sometime after the Fourth of July holiday, and then another week to identify the property owners where a nuisance is found and mail out the forms, after which follow-up inspections would take place to see if the problems identified are corrected within the allotted time frame to do so.
“I wanted to let everyone kind of get a feeling for the amount of work time that this is going to take,” he said. “This is going to be substantial. The worst part is going to be the initial drive-around, because we’re certainly not going to have every address in the city getting one of these (forms).”
Williams said going ahead with citywide inspections will be “more proactive process than reactive” in dealing with nuisances, which before had been dealt with upon receiving a complaint.
City administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner said she would be interested in riding along during the inspections, so that she would be familiar with how they are done and be able to better answer phone calls and questions that might be received at City Hall from those who are sent a form.
“At least initially, I think it would be beneficial for me to be involved in the process,” she said.
After the initial inspections this summer, Williams said he would like to once again do inspections throughout the city sometime next May.
“I certainly don’t think if we do it annually, it’s going to be as big of an issue as this first time,” he said. “So, I don’t see it taking as near as much time next year or the year after.”
Williams said the citywide inspections change the process of enforcing what is already in the city code related to nuisance violations.
“We’re being proactive in enforcing what’s been on the books versus reactive,” he said. “That’s the only difference.”